17. Sir NAIRNE STEWART SANDEMAN
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will publish the report of the late Lord Cowdray on his search for oil in this country; whether any oil was discovered; and what the search cost the Government of the day?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I am not aware of the existence of any general report by Messrs. S. Pearson and Sons, Limited, who carried out the drilling operations on behalf of the Government to which my hon. Friend refers. An account of the 1795 work done was given in the First and Second Annual Reports of the Secretary for Mines on pages 30–33 and pages 24–25, respectively, and I would refer my hon. Friend to these reports. The total cost to the Exchequer was about £570,000.
Sir N. STEWART SANDEMAN
Is it not a fact that the report made out that there was practically no oil in the country at all? Has anything happened lately to make my hon. Friend change his mind?
§ Mr. BROWN
I have not changed my mind about it at all. If the hon. Member will read the report, he will see that it does not bear out what he says. For instance, on page 25, it says:Operations under the Pearson agreement have consisted in testing the most promising structures by sinking 11 wells, five of which were carried to a depth of over 4,000 feet and three to depths of between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. One—