HC Deb 21 July 1944 vol 402 cc489-90W
Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he can give an estimate of the reduction in Germany's supplies of minerals and synthetic oil, respectively, resulting from British and U.S.A. air attacks on oil refineries and other oil installations in Germany, German occupied and satellite territories.

Mr. Foot

The low level attack of August, 1943, on Ploesti, apart from inflicting an immediate loss of output on the enemy, had an important long-term effect in eliminating all the spare refinery capacity then existing in Roumania, and so left no reserve which the enemy could call into operation in order to offset losses inflicted in further attacks. Hence an immediate effect on the enemy's oil supplies from Roumania was produced when the attack on Ploesti was resumed in April. The attack in strength on the Axis oil industry has since been extended in a series of co-ordinated operations against synthetic plants and refineries in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Jugoslavia, France and Northern Italy.

It is estimated that as a result of these attacks, German synthetic oil production was reduced by 50 per cent. in June, and that the output of refined products from crude petroleum by Germany and her satellites declined by 40 per cent. in June. So great was the damage to refineries that the combined crude oil production of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Roumania was considerably in excess of the refinery capacity available, with the result that a substantial part of the production of the wells had to be shut down. The reduction in total Axis oil supplies from all sources is estimated to have amounted to 25 per cent. in May and to 40 per cent. in June. Moreover, the distribution of the production which remains to the enemy has been rendered increasingly difficult and precarious by attacks on his communications and especially by the sowing of mines in the Danube and by the constant harrying of his transport and dumps behind the battlefronts in Normandy and Italy.