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British Oil Companies (Operations)

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he proposes to try to secure for British oil companies in Rumania a fair price there for their products, and the right to export their oil, thereby enabling them to pay by their exports for the equipment needed from abroad, especially as the Russo-Rumanian oil company, Sovrompetrol, in which the U.S.S.R. has the major interests and holds the key posts, has secured valuable privileges denied to British and U.S. oil companies, including the right to export oil.

British oil companies in Rumania receive the same prices for products as everyone else, but although there was a substantial increase in these prices as recently as April, they still do not cover the cost of production. It is true that the Soviet-Rumanian company, Sovrompetrol, has obtained certain privileges which have been denied to other companies and it is believed that these include the authority to export 70,000 tons of oil against free currency. The attention of the Rumanian Government has been drawn to these cases of discrimination. British companies will be entitled to "most-favoured-nation" treatment under the Peace Treaty, which also sets up machinery for settling disputes in connection with the specific point of the prices to be paid by the Rumanian Government for all goods, including oil, which are to be delivered by it on account of reparations. I can assure my hon. Friend that His Majesty's Government continue to press for an amelioration of the position of British oil companies operating in Rumania.