HC Deb 09 July 1936 vol 314 cc1407-9W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the Petroleum (Production) Regulations, 1935, dated the 15th May, 1935, made under the Petroleum (Production) Act, 1934, which provide for the grant of oil-prospecting and oil-mining licences to foreigners and foreign-controlled companies, subject to certain conditions; whether in the Colonial Empire generally he is aware that oil-mining licences and leases may be granted to British subjects or British-controlled companies only; and whether it is proposed to relax this condition having regard to the action taken in this country?


Yes, Sir; I am aware of the action taken in this country. In accordance with the general policy laid down some 30 years ago, oil concessions on Crown Lands in the territories for the administration of which the Secretary of State for the Colonies is responsible (excluding, of course, mandated territories) have been granted only to British subjects or companies under British control, and regulations to secure this object have been adopted in practically all relevant cases. The question whether this policy should be modified has been under consideration for some time, and as a special case the Regulation of one Dependency were amended in 1931 to permit of the operation of foreign-controlled companies. It has now been decided that the embargo should be raised generally throughout the Colonial Empire, subject to the following conditions:—

(1) Terms of existing leases to be maintained and their transfer made subject (as at present) to Government approval.

(2) Concessions only to be granted or assigned to foreigners or foreign-controlled companies in cases where foreigners are citizens of countries granting similar advantages to British nationals.

(3) The grant of the concession to be made to a company registered in British territory.

(4) Majority of employés and some of the Directors, and the chief local representative, to be British subjects.

(5) As soon as the output of oil reaches a specified amount, at least 50 per cent. of the oil obtained to be refined on British territory and the plant to be capable of producing fuel oil suitable for Admiralty use.

(6) The Government to retain right of pre-emption in case of emergency.

(7) Provision to be included in the concession requiring that it shall in fact be worked.

I would make it clear that the last three conditions which I have mentioned will apply equally to all concessionaires irrespective of nationality.

In order to give adequate notice of the change and to allow time for the preparation of the necessary amendments to the various Regulations, it is proposed to fix the 1st September, 1938, as the date from which they shall simultaneously become effective. Arrangements will be made for an announcement to this effect to be made in the various Colonies, etc., concerned.

24th June,1935. 16th December,1935. 22nd June,1936.
Total number of unemployed persons on registers 3,033 3,267 1,924
Number with claims admitted for insurance benefit. 667 852 382
Number with applications authorised for unemployment allowances. 2,003 2,086 1,291

Estimates of the total numbers of insured persons in particular localities can be made only for July of each year, on the basis of information derived from the annual exchange of unemployment books. The estimated number of insured persons, aged 14 to 64 years, in the area of the Port Glasgow Employment Exchange at July, 1935, was 8,380. The corresponding total for July, 1936, is not yet available.

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