HC Deb 18 December 1947 vol 445 cc386-7W
116. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he has any statement to make about the supply of oil for coal-oil conversion schemes.

Mr. Gaitskell

Yes. As the House will recall it became necessary in the early autumn to ask a number of firms to defer the final stages of conversion to fuel oil on account of a shortage of rail tank cars. In recent weeks the tanker position has also become increasingly difficult and although all possible steps are being taken to increase the available tonnage, there is a danger that if the conversion programme proceeds in 1948 as originally planned, it would not be possible to meet all the additional demands for fuel oil as and when they arise.

Accordingly all firms who are in process of converting are being asked to inform the regional representative of the Petroleum Board of the stage reached in ordering and obtaining equipment. This will enable a programme to be drawn up for bringing these schemes into operation in an orderly manner as additional supplies of oil become available. Firms who have been authorised to convert but who have not yet begun to do so are advised not to proceed until further notice.

Mr. Erroll

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is now in a position to state whether he is satisfied that he will be able to obtain enough fuel oil to enable him to carry out the full coal/oil conversion scheme for industry; and whether he will reconsider the desirability of giving priority to those schemes where the maximum saving of coal per ton of oil can be shown.

Mr. Gaitskell

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough) today. As to the second part of the Question, the factors to be taken into account in considering the deferment of any particular case will include the one mentioned, by the hon. Member.