HC Deb 03 December 1956 vol 561 cc876-7
40. Mr. G. Darling

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will make a statement on oil exploration and current oil production in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Prospecting is now being undertaken on a greater scale than ever before and promising discoveries were made last year in the Egmanton area of Nottinghamshire, though it is too early to assess the reserves in this field. Altogether 120 oil prospecting and mining licences have been granted covering over 20,000 square miles. Output for 1956 from the 230 wells now producing is expected to exceed 60,000 tons.

Mr. Darling

Do I gather from that reply, which I did not hear, that there is little chance of our getting oil out of the ground in this country and that the quantities we might get would be very small? If so, is it not about time that we had a fuel policy which will stop the waste and the burning of raw coal in domestic grates and industrial boilers so that we can extract all the raw materials that we can. including petrol, from coal?

Mr. Jones

As to the first part of that supplementary question, it is unfortunately the case that the quantities appear to be rather small. As to the second part of the question, I entirely agree that we ought to use our own native fuels as economically as we can. Certainly, as far as I am concerned I would like to do everything I can to that end.