§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the latest developments relating to the exploration for oil and gas off the Welsh coast, and any guidance given by the Welsh Office to those involved in such work.
§ Mr. Moynihan
Exploration for oil and gas takes place under licences awarded by my Department. Approvals, consents and guidance associated with these licences are issued by my Department.
Licensees also consult the Ministries of Defence and Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and the Department of Transport for guidance on defence, fishing and navigational matters in the licensed areas, the Nature Conservancy Council for guidance on environmental matters, and, in the case of blocks close to shore, local planning authorities. The Health and Safety Executive is now responsible for monitoring and providing advice on offshore safety.
Evidence of oil and gas has been found in only one block to date. The block concerned, 110/13, lies in the Irish sea and was licensed in 1989. The oil and gas discovered in this block has yet to be appraised.