Oral Answers to Questions — Leeward Islands (Oil Boring)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1949.

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Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes 12:00 am, 29th June 1949

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what has been the cost to date of the geological survey carried out in the Leeward Islands and around the coast of these islands with a view to discovering deposits of oil; and on what date the decision was taken to proceed immediately with under-water boring for oil;

(2) whether he has now completed his inquiries into the immediate plans of the Governor of the Leeward Islands to proceed with under-water boring for oil along the coast of these islands; what will be the approximate cost of this project each year for the next five years; and when boring is to commence.

Mr. Creech Jones:

I fear that there is some misunderstanding on this matter. No geological survey of the Leeward Islands has been or is as yet being carried out. The Legislative Council of St. Kitts-Nevis urged last October that a survey should take place with special emphasis on the possible presence of oil. The Governor has been in touch with the Director of Geological Survey in British Guiana regarding this matter, and the situation in these islands will be related to other geological work to be done in the region. I am advised, however, that it is unlikely that the geological structure of the Islands is favourable for the accumulation of oil.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Does the Colonial Secretary mean by that reply that, when the Governor said about four months ago that he had immediate plans —those were his exact words—for proceeding with boring for oil, in fact he had no such plans?

Mr. Creech Jones:

I understand that the Governor meant that he intended to try to find oil after finding water.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

While I fail to see the connection between oil and water, may I ask the Colonial Secretary to make it clear that there are no plans to proceed with underwater boring for oil, that there is no geological survey, and that the plan exists only in the imagination of the Governor?

Mr. Creech Jones:

I said that there had been as yet no survey, but that the Governor has been in touch with the Director of Geological Survey, stationed in British Guiana. The survey of this territory and these waters will be related to the general survey going on in the region.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what the connection is between water and oil?