§ Mr. John Smith
A number of promising sedimentary basins exist in these areas and small quantities of oil are already being produced from some of them. More exploration will be necessary to define further potential.
§ Mr. Hardy
If the exploration is particularly successful, commanding attention will be paid to it, but will my hon. Friend confirm that the successful search for coal which has been undertaken in recent years suggests that the long-term wealth of resources in that fuel is likely to be of greater significance than that in the oilfields off Britain and inland in Britain so far discovered or expected?
§ Mr. Smith
I could not agree more with my hon. Friend's comments. Anyone who considers the overall energy scene will realise that although oil resources may be measured in terms of decades coal resources are measured in terms of centuries. It is extremely important to keep this sense of balance when examining energy questions. My hon. Friend will be interested to learn that there are almost as many rigs exploring for coal in this country as there are in the North Sea exploring for oil and gas.