HC Deb 28 June 1963 vol 679 cc173-4W
Mr. Awbery

asked the Lord Privy Seal, in view of the industrial development of the production of methane gas in the Sahara, what steps are being taken to bring about closer co-operation between the Algerian Government and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Heath

Imports into the United Kingdom of methane gas from the Sahara, which will begin next year under the Gas Council's 15-year contract with the companies marketing natural gas in Algeria, will lead to a sharp increase in Anglo-Algerian trade to our mutual advantage. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power said on 14th March, imports of methane are expected to amount to 300 million therms in 1964 rising to 350 million therms by 1966. The two tankers which will carry the liquified gas are being built in the United Kingdom.

The Algerian Minister of Industrialisation and Power is at present in this country as the guest of Her Majesty's Government and is seeing what British industry can supply in relation to Algeria's economic needs. He has discussed with the President of the Board of Trade the general terms of a £500,000 loan for the purchase of British equipment which has been offered to Algeria by Her Majesty's Government.

We are also discussing a small but useful technical assistance programme with the Algerian Government. Two experts have already been sent.

In the cultural sphere, the British Council is opening an office in Algiers later this year and recruiting five English teachers for Algerian schools.

We hope that these developments will promote closer economic, trade and cultural co-operation between the two countries.