HC Deb 18 February 1914 vol 58 cc920-1

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many ships of all classes, built and building for the Navy, are fitted or to be fitted for burning oil fuel only; how many ships are fitted or are to be fitted for burning oil and coal; what are the names of the vessels under each specification; and what is the maximum oil capacity for each ship?

The FIRST LORD Of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill)

Figures relating to the oil capacity of His Majesty's ships of war are confidential, and could not be disclosed without injury to naval interests. I will circulate the lists of ships asked for with the Votes. [See Written Answers this date.]


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, if he can inform the House as to the price of oil fuel for the Navy in 1910 and at the present time, and the additional payment for freight in each year?


As I informed the Noble Lord on the 10th February last year, it would not be in the interests of the public service or in accordance with Admiralty practice to give details of contracts or charges; but I may say that, taking price and freight charges together, the cost of oil fuel is now approximately double what it was in 1910.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has caused any experiments to be conducted for the extraction of oil fuel from coal or shale, or caused any inquiries to be made as to the comparative cost of oil extraction by any of the processes now being adopted by commercial concerns?


The Admiralty have made some experimental extractions on a small scale of oil from certain shales in the United Kingdom, and the various commercial processes for extracting oil from coal and shale are being watched with the keenest interest. It is not practicable to give any comparative details, as much experimental work is still being done.


asked what sums have been spent by the Admiralty in providing oil depots and other works for the use of oil in the fleet; how many vessels have been fitted for burning oil fuel exclusively, or for burning either oil or coal; and what is the annual consumption and value of oil fuel already reached?


The list of vessels fitted for burning oil fuel exclusively or for burning oil and coal, will be circulated with the Votes in reply to the Question No. 1 asked to-day by the Noble Lord the Member for Portsmouth. I propose to deal fully with the question of oil fuel when I make my statement on introducing the Navy Estimates; but I am advised that it would not be consistent with the public interest to give the details asked for in my hon. Friend's question.

Sir J. D. REES

Did I rightly understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that the extraction of oil from shale is still in the experimental stage?


I think that that supplementary question should have been put after a preceding question.