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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will review the Government's policy on the future construction of pylons in this country on the basis of international research published since April. 
Mr. Wilson: Gas storage facilities (including underground) will have an increasingly important role, as Great Britain becomes increasingly dependent on imported gas and as the "swing" capability of North Sea gas fields declines, in helping gas suppliers to meet peak demand requirements. In this way they contribute to security of supply. They can also help to keep prices down by enabling suppliers to purchase additional gas, to put into storage, when wholesale prices are low.
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, acting under its duties to protect the interests of consumers, supports the development of new gas storage projects. Proposals for new storage projects are subject to regulatory
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consents, notably planning permission and under health and safety legislation. Energy security, including gas storage, is a key element of the energy policy review currently being undertaken by the Performance and Innovation Unit of the Cabinet Office. The review is due to conclude at the end of the year.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to safeguard the future of the tyre manufacturing industry in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Providing a stable macro-economic framework, investing in education and skills, investing in Britain's knowledge base, ensuring a decent infrastructure, helping business boost productivity, securing effective competition and supporting business by creating a culture in which enterprise can flourish.
In common with other industrial countries the tyre industry in the UK is under great competitive pressure. We will continue to maintain close contact with tyre manufacturers in the UK and make sure that they are fully aware of our manufacturing policy.
Mr. Wilson: OPEC-11 (i.e. including Iraq) proven oil reserves 1 are estimated to be around 800 billion barrels, approximately 80 per cent. of proven world reserves (Source: US DoE, Energy Information Administration website). Current OPEC-11 spare oil production capacity is approximately 4.7 million barrels per day, compared to production of 27.2 million barrels per day and world oil demand of around 76 million barrels per day (Source: International Energy Agency, October Oil Market Report). Information on the level of oil stocks held by OPEC countries is not available.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what quantities of plutonium have been (a) sold and (b) loaned to the European Commission, on behalf of the European Communities, by the United
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Kingdom (i) prior to and (ii) since the United Kingdom joined the European Community; and if she will provide details of dates and reasons for such transactions. 
Mr. Wilson: Information available to us indicates that small samples of material have been transferred to the European Commission for purposes such as safeguards measurements and research. The details requested cannot be provided because the information is held largely on paper records dating back over 40 years and could be provided only at disproportionate cost to the Department.
Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if legislation is required to allow offshore wind farms to be built in British waters more than 12 miles from the coastline; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: The Department has recently reviewed the consent requirements for offshore windfarms within English and Welsh territorial waters and is currently reviewing the legislation for developments outside territorial waters but within the United Kingdom continental shelf area. Until this review has been completed, we are not in a position to say whether further legislation will be required.
Mr. Wilson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has yet to receive the views of the National Assembly for Wales. Until their views are known she will not take her decision, including whether or not to hold a public inquiry on the application.
There has already been good progress with the strategy. The publication in March by the EU Commission of a revised draft Gas Directive was a positive step towards greater European liberalisation. On 10 September we held a joint workshop with the United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA) to consider how greater information flows between the offshore and the onshore could improve the market and I intend to maintain the momentum on this issue.
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Interconnector (UK) Ltd. now publishes details of flows with a one day lag instead of the previous six week delay. We have also been working with IUK and interconnector shippers on improvements to interconnector governance and marketing arrangements. I understand that the European Commission's competition inquiry into the operation of the interconnector, which was instituted at the request of the Government, is now in its final stages.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will review the advice given by his Department to British companies involved in oil extraction in Southern Sudan; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 1 November 2001]: We have no ongoing campaign to promote investment in the Sudanese oil industry. We provide full and frank advice to companies that approach us about oil extraction in southern Sudan. We keep this advice under constant review.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the British oil industry companies which operate in (a) Tajikistan, (b) Turkmenistan, (c) Uzbekistan, (d) Kyrgstan and (e) Kazakhstan. 
TurkmenistanShell and Burren Energy have offices.
UzbekistanShell have an office. Trinity Energy have a holding in a consortium operating an exploration asset.
KazakhstanBG Group, Shell, BP and Enterprise Oil all have holdings in consortia operating exploration and production assets.
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