HC Deb 13 June 1927 vol 207 cc658-9
11. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any drilling for oil has actually taken place in Iraq; if so, how many drills have been started; what depth has been penetrated; which districts have been drilled; and what have been the results?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the remainder of the question, I am not in a position to give details of the operations of individual oil companies, or to add to my reply to the hon. and gallant Member on the 16th of May last. As I then stated, the Turkish Petroleum Company did not start drilling operations until the 5th April last. In these circumstances, any statement as to the results obtained would be clearly premature.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is not the right hon. Gentleman in possession of information as, to how many holes are being drilled?


No, Sir. There is no administrative reason why private companies operating in Iraq should keep me informed as to their operations.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is it not the fact that one of the reasons why we take such an interest in the country, and spend so much money on it, is because we were told that there was a great oilfield there?


Is it not a fact that the company which is conducting these drilling operations is a subsidiary of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and are not the Government very largely interested in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company?


The Government have an interest in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company has an interest in the Turkish Petroleum Company, but it is by no means a subsidiary company.


The right hon. Gentleman, in his answer, spoke of companies. Is there only one company drilling in Iraq, or are the Anglo-Persian and the International both drilling?


They are both drilling. The Anglo-Persian is drilling near Kharakan, in the old Baghdad vilayet, and the Turkish Petroleum Company are conducting their investigations in the old Mosul vilayet.


Is it not a fact that the British Government never made a better investment for the taxpayers of this country than when they invested this money in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company?