§ 6. Mr. Joynson-Hicks
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is the current output of oil from the British oil com- 2201 panies in Rumania; what steps he is taking to facilitate any increase in their output; and what contribution they are making towards the fuel requirements of this country.
§ Mr. Shinwell
The crude oil production in 1946 of the oil companies in Rumania in which there are British interests was 2,100,000 tons, out of a total Rumanian production of 4,200,000 tons. The current rate of production of the companies concerned is slightly below the 1946 level. There is little that I can do to facilitate any increase in the output of these companies. The main factor responsible for the recent decline in production is shortage of essential oil production equipment and other materials which are not procurable in Rumania and which cannot be purchased abroad owing to the lack of foreign currency. There can be no alleviation of this position until Rumanian oil exports to the West are resumed. The answer to the last part of the Question was given in my reply of 9th June to my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid).
§ Mr. Joynson-Hicks
Does not the Minister of Fuel and Power agree that the difficulty of obtaining foreign currencies for these companies would be overcome it we were to buy oil fuel from them in order to supplement our reserves?