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The North Sea Gas Gathering System

Volume 417: debated on Tuesday 10 February 1981

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2.47 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can give the starting date for the North Sea gas gathering system.

My Lords, the gas gathering organising group already has work on the project well under way. The detailed off-shore conceptual design was completed in January and included a construction schedule confirming that completion of the project by 1984–85 is achievable.

My Lords, may I thank my noble friend for his reply? Will he please confirm that the timetable allows for no flaring of the 12 or so associated fields which are due to come on stream during that time, thus avoiding waste of resources?

My Lords, obviously one cannot avoid flaring if one is to develop an oilfield. It is in order that the flaring should not be wasteful that the gas-gathering scheme is being developed.

My Lords, can the noble Earl tell us whether there has yet been agreement on the price to be paid by the BGC for the gas and ethanes?

My Lords, can the noble Earl tell us the result, if any, of the Secretary of State's visit to Norway the other day to press the case for getting Norwegian gas into the pipeline?

My Lords, the Norwegian licensees have recommended that gas from the Statfjord field be transported via Norway to the Continent; but their recommendation is subject to strong conditions which may not be met. I understand that this recommendation will now be considered by the Norwegian Government, along with other possible solutions, and then put to the Storting for decision in the spring.

My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for that information. Can he say whether there is any truth in the report that the British Government have proposed that we could provide a link to the Continent to carry the Norwegian gas from our own pipeline?

My Lords, my advice is that the Norwegians have been told that if gas from their side of the median line is committed for transport through the line, arrangements will be made for Norwegian participation if they so wish; but I imagine that that implies that it could be done without such participation.