HC Deb 07 August 1924 vol 176 cc3097-8
23. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any exploration for mineral oils has taken place in Iraq since the armistice with Turkey; whether any wells have been drilled; whether any seepages have been found; what has been the result of the explorations; and what are the prospects of finding and winning oil in the territories of Iraq, including the province of Mosul?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Thomas)

I am afraid that I cannot give the hon. and gallant Member all the information that he desires. Pending an administrative settlement, action was taken by His Majesty's Government to discourage exploration for mineral oil in Iraq, and has, I believe, been effective; but a small amount of oil was won and used exclusively for military purposes. The only operations of any importance of which I am aware are those carried out by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in the transferred territories, a narrow strip of country on the Perso-Iraq border which was formerly part of Persia and is covered by the concession granted to Mr. W. K. D'Arcy by the Persian Government. I do not know what prospects there are of finding oil in the territories of Iraq, including Mosul; but the principal oil companies of the world, whose opinion is probably more valuable than mine, seem to think that the prospects are good.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is my right hon. Friend aware that certain prominent critics of our policy in Iraq have offered to drink all the oil ever found in that country? Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to have that promise implemented?


I am satisfied that if a number of people whom I know would guarantee to drink the oil found in that country, I would be delighted.

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