HC Deb 31 October 1949 vol 469 cc1-3W
11. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power who owns the pipeline that supplied the Haifa oil refineries; and if he will give an estimate of the amount which would have been refined each year and of the effect on home supplies had the refineries been in operation.

Mr. Gaitskell

The pipeline is owned by the Iraq Petroleum Company. The Haifa refineries are capable of producing about 3¾ million tons of petroleum products a year of which American companies have the right to about 25 per cent. The supplies available to British companies would probably have been used to replace purchases of dollar oil rather than to increase the level of home supplies.

18. Major Beamish

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what quantity of crude oil was refined in the United Kingdom in 1946, 1947, 1948 and so far in 1949; what has been the annual approximate saving in dollars as a result of the increased refining capacity; what plans there are to increase this capacity; and whether he is satisfied that the United Kingdom can reach the target suggested by the Oil Committee of the Organisation for European Economic Recovery and approved by the Council of the Organisation.

Mr. Gaitskell

The quantity of oil refined in the United Kingdom for these years was, respectively, 1946, 2.5 million tons; 1947, 2.6 million tons; 1948, 4.5 million tons, and for the first eight months of 1949, 3.9 million tons.

It is not possible to estimate precisely the dollar saving involved, because this depends on the source from which the increases in refined products would otherwise have been obtained. But the gross value in dollars of the increased output expected for the year 1949 over 1946 is about 60 million dollars against which must be set dollar expenditure incurred, for example, on refining equipment. As regards plans for expansion, I have no reason to suppose that the refinery capacity of about 19 million tons approved by O.E.E.C. will not be achieved.

47. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken to bring about world agreement on the allocation of oil supplies.

Mr. Mayhew

None. His Majesty's Government are not convinced that allocation of oil supplies on a world-wide basis is practicable at present.

48. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why supplies of oil have not been obtained by pipeline from Iraq so that the Haifa oil refineries could be operated; and how long the refineries have not been in use.

Mr. Mayhew

Supplies have not been obtained because the Iraqi authorities have not so far allowed oil to flow down the pipeline from Iraq to Haifa. The refineries, which stopped functioning on 1st April, 1948, have been working again since 14th October.

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