HC Deb 31 July 1946 vol 426 cc933-4
22. Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the retail prices of Iraqi petrol, paraffin and fuel oil in Palestine; on what basis were the prices fixed; and whether he is satisfied that the cost of carrying the raw product from Iraq justifies the much higher prices charged for the refined products in Palestine than in Iraq.

Mr. George Hall

As the answer is rather long, and contains a number of figures, I will with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Keeling

But is the Secretary of State aware that oil prices in Palestine are much too high—

Mr. Stokes

Prices are everywhere too high.

Mr. Keeling

—and that the Palestine Government were asked for pipeline way-leaves and were therefore in a strong position to demand reasonable prices? Was this failure to do so due to the fact that the British Government were, and are, a large holder of oil shares?

Mr. Hall

I do not think that the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question has anything at all to do with the matter. If he will wait and see the figures I am giving, I think he will find that the price of oil is not unduly high.

Following is the reply:

The retail prices of Iraq petroleum products in Palestine are as follow:

(The Palestine mil is 1/1000 of the £P.)

  1. (a) Petrol. 150 mils per gallon including duty of 100 mils.
  2. (b) Paraffin. 155 mils per 4 gallons including duty of 18.73 mils.
  3. (c) Gas oil. £P.7.350 mils per ton duty free.
  4. (d) Diesel oil. £P.6.950 mils per ton duty free.

The retail price for petrol applies throughout Palestine. The prices of the other products are Haifa prices; elsewhere in Palestine these prices are somewhat higher to cover transport charges.

These basic prices, excluding duty, were fixed on the basis of Gulf of Mexico prices plus an addition on account of notional freight and insurance, which is calculated partly on prewar costs from the Gulf and partly on wartime costs from Abadan.

With reference to the last past of the Question, I am looking into the matter of the prices of petroleum products in consultation with the High Commissioner for Palestine.