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Saudi Arabia (Oil Concessions)

Volume 415: debated on Wednesday 31 October 1945

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if the Government of Saudi Arabia is willing to grant suitable facilities for securing the oil needed by countries of the British Commonwealth and Empire; if he can state, approximately, the quantity of oil estimated to be in Saudi Arabia; and if a pipe line to transport the oil from Saudi Arabia via Palestine to the Mediterranean is to be constructed and by whom.

The only concession for the production of oil in Saudi Arabia is held by an American company. Dollar expenditure is involved in purchases of oil from this source, but, to the extent that dollar purchases of oil are approved, there is no reason to suppose that supplies from Saudi Arabia will not be available for countries of the British Commonwealth and Empire. I have no information as to the quantity of oil estimated to be available, but I understand that the potentiality of the oil fields already discovered is considerable. As regards the last part of the Question, certain negotiations have been taking place but I have no statement to make regarding them.