HC Deb 06 March 1939 vol 344 cc1747-8
48. Sir Percy Hurd

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what progress has been made with inquiries into the desirability of the development of the Alberta oilfield for the purposes of the British Navy?

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Colonel Llewellin)

I do not know what inquiries my hon. Friend has in mind. The Admiralty are naturally very interested in the development of this Empire oilfield, and should oil fuel to Admiralty specification be produced and made accessible to tanker transport, they would certainly be willing to enter into negotiations with a view to purchasing supplies.

Sir P. Hurd

Is it not a fact that the Admiralty have had representatives looking over this field?

Colonel Llewellin

We have not had representatives looking over the field, but we have had the specifications sent to us. At the moment they do not comply with our requirements.

Sir H. Croft

In view of the great strategic importance of this supply of oil, if it proves to be adequate and of the right quality, will the Admiralty take steps to make urgent inquiries before this oilfield falls into the hands of a company connected with a country which may be a potential enemy?

Colonel Llewellin

The new oilfield in Canada is primarily a matter for the Canadian Government, and I do not think there is any chance of it being developed by the wrong persons. We are certainly anxious to encourage it for strategic reasons if it produces such oil as the Navy can burn. If it does not, I am afraid it is not of such use.

Mr. Batey

Is there any need to encourage the development of this oilfield when the Navy can get all the oil it wants in this country by extracting oil from coal?