HC Deb 06 April 1938 vol 334 cc332-3
39. Mr. Roland Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps have been taken to secure the successful exploitation of oil concessions over the sea-bed within the territorial waters of Trinidad?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

In June, 1936, the Government of Trinidad issued a gazette notice inviting applications within six months for the grant of exploration licences over marine areas in the territorial waters of the Colony. Applications were received from a number of oil companies, and after consideration of all the issues involved the Governor, with my concurrence, informed the companies that it had been provisionally decided that the entire area thus available for oil development should be explored and developed as a single unit by one joint operating company. The companies were accordingly invited to enter upon discussions with one another for the formation of a joint operating company, but their proposals for this purpose have not yet been received.

Sir Joseph Nall

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that this is done under British control?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

British Controlled Oilfields is one of the companies that have applied. There are a good many other companies besides British Controlled operating in Trinidad.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Do they pay royalties for this oil?

Mr. Robinson

How soon does my right hon. Friend expect the joint operating company to be formed?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I am waiting to hear from the various companies that have applied for rights to bore within territorial waters.

Sir J. Nall

May I point out that, in speaking of British control, I was not naming a particular company, but meant British interests as such?