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Oil Exploration (Warwickshire)

Volume 82: debated on Monday 1 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what plans he has to extend the area of Warwickshire licensed for (a) oil exploration and (b) oil production; and if he will make a statement.

The Petroleum (Production) (Landward Areas) Regulations 1984 set out the arrangements for applications for new licences. On 25 June 1985, at column 360, I announced that the Secretary of State for Energy will on 2 July formally invite applications for exploration licences for unlicensed areas. Unlicensed areas of Warwickshire could therefore be applied for in this round. I have sent my hon. Friend a map indicating existing licensed areas in Warwickshire.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what inquiries he has had since he last granted oil exploration licences for Warwickshire about (a) further exploration and (b) production; and if he will make a statement;(2) what parts of Warwickshire have to date been prospected for

(a) oil and (b) other hydrocarbons with negative results; and if he will make a statement.

Exploration for oil and other hydrocarbons has taken place in southern parts of Warwickshire. Specifically a network of seismic lines was shot in July 1984 in exploration licences XLs 176 and 197 along and south of a line between Dorsington and Banbury. The survey included areas outside Warwickshire, but in that county the survey was of the area around Shipston-on-Stour.A further survey in XL 176 is planned for July 1985, parts of which will be in Warwickshire around Dorsington, Shipston-on-Stour and Great Wolford.In May 1984, one short line in production licence PL 168 was shot near Banton on the Heath.

I refer my hon. Friend to my answer given today in relation to the evaluation of seismic data. No other interest in areas in Warwickshire has been expressed to my Department.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what progress has been made under the production licences to secure oil production in Warwickshire; and if he will make a statement;(2) if, further to the reply to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth of 27 June,

Official Report, columns 473–74, concerning oil exploration in Warwickshire, he will make a statement on the outcome to date of the seismic surveys conducted.

Seismic surveys have been carried out in the licensed areas of Warwickshire. Such surveys should provide evidence as to whether or not suitable structures, which could contain oil, exist. The detailed analysis of the data they provide is a lengthy procedure and has not yet been completed by the licensees. Results of all seismic surveys are, however, confidential to the licensees concerned and are not made available publicly.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what licences are currently in force for (a) exploration and (b) production of hydrocarbons other than oil in Warwickshire; if he will specify in each case the date of issue, to whom the licence has been issued, the period of the licence, the precise area covered and progress to date; and if he will make a statement;(2) further to the reply to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth of 27 June,

Official Report, columns 473–74, concerning oil exploration in Warwickshire, if he will specify the precise areas within which (a) each of the production licences and (b) each of the exploration licences are operative.

Parts of two production licences (PLs) are in areas of Warwickshire. The licence boundaries are given in the following grid references.

PL 168SP 10002900,SP 15002900,SP 15002600,
SP 22502600,SP 22503400,SP 30003400,
SP 30003000,SP 35503000,SP 35502000,
SP 10002000,SP 10002900.
PL 169aSP 30004000,SP 44044000,SP 44003200,
SP 35503200,SP 35503000,SP 30003000,
SP 30004000.
Parts of two exploration licences (XLs) are in areas of Warwickshire. The licence boundaries are as follows:

XLSP 11005000,SP 40005000,SP 40004000,
SP 30004000,SP 30003400,SP 22503400,
SP 22502600,SP 15002600,SP 15002900,
SP 11021900,SP 11005000.
XL 197SP 40005000,SP 57005000,SP 57003000,
SP 42503000,SP 42502000,SP 48002000,
SP 48001000,SP 40001000,SP 40002000,
SP 35502000,SP 35503200,SP 44003200,
SP 44004000,SP 40004000,SP 40005000.
A production licence grants the right to search, bore for and get petroleum, which is defined as any mineral oil or relative hydrocarbon and natural gas existing in its natural condition in strata, but excluding coal, bituminous shale or other stratified deposits from which oil can be extracted by destructive distillation. An exploration licence of this type grants the right to search but not bore for petroleum. The exercise of the right granted by these licences is subject to all necessary permissions, including planning permission where necessary. I refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 27 June for the details of licensees, date of grant and period of licence.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information is available to him as to any correlation between the incidence of coal deposits in south Warwickshire and of hydrocarbons, including oil, in that approximate area; and if he will make a statement.

The National Coal Board has sent out to local authorities its proposals for the development of the 400-million tonne reserve of coal in south Warwickshire. There is no information available to confirm the presence of hydrocarbons in this area.