§ Mr. Murphy
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he intends to lay the draft Gas (NI) Order 1981.
§ Mr. Adam Butler
I indicated to the House on 9 March that the Government were looking with an open mind at the possibility of providing natural gas from the Kinsale field to the gas industry in Northern Ireland. A preliminary examination has led the Government to conclude that further studies, in greater depth and on the basis of much firmer information, should be undertaken to determine whether and on what terms the project will be capable of achieving and maintaining financial viability.
To allow this further examination, the existing gas undertakings will not be required to proceed with their agreed rundown arrangements for a period of six months unless they wish to do so. The Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 will not be laid before the House in the meantime.