HC Deb 04 July 1955 vol 543 cc759-60
31. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will make a statement on the progress of conversion of coal to oil firing at power stations and dual firing; how much coal will thereby be saved this year and in 1956 and 1957; and what steps he has taken to assure adequacy of oil fuel supplies for this programme, and how much extra oil fuel is involved.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The Central Electricity Authority has recently announced a long term contract with one oil company and other negotiations are still in progress. Deliveries of oil will begin towards the end of this year, and it is hoped that half a million tons of coal may be saved in 1956 and up to 4 million tons in 1957. By 1960 the use of 5 million tons of oil in about 16 power stations should be saving about 8 million tons of coal. I am satisfied that these additional supplies will be available.

Mr. Nabarro

Would my right hon. Friend confirm that a number of oil companies tendered for this important contract from the British Electricity Authority, and that the contract was placed with the lowest tenderer, notwithstanding the fact that it was an American concern? In those circumstances, will my right hon. Friend confirm that there is no price ring operating among the oil companies?

Mr. Lloyd

There certainly was evidence of strong competition, and the Central Electricity Authority did what it thought best for itself.

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