Oct. 8, 1951 — The Sydney Morning Herald (Letter)
This ran in the Letters To Editor section of The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on October 8, 1951.
Abadan And Australia
Sir,—The tragic oil debacle in Iran has particular significance for Australasia.
The withdrawal from Queensland of the Shell group, the abandonment of Lakes Entrance (Vic), the political suicide of Glen Davis, and the inconclusive evidence coming from the intense efforts of the oil seekers in New Guinea are depressing features, but they by no means answer the question of fluid fuel deposits in Australasia either way.
By stepping up refinery capacity from a mere 20 per cent of Australasia’s requirements to meet in a few years the entire demands at an ultimate cost of what may be well over £100 million, the major oil groups concerned are relieving the terrific pressure on refinery capacity abroad and paving the way for treatment of any indigenous oil or synthetic petroleum from gas that may be discovered and produced later.
Meantime, an entirely new approach to the matter is urgently needed from all parties interested, including the various Governments, and one of the first considerations to encourage a renewal of activities in areas that are definitely known to be favourable for both oil and gas would be the revival and revision of the Commonwealth Oil Bounty Act, raising the bounty to £1,000,000 for a successful discovery.
At the same time exemption from Capital Issues Control should be afforded to those with bona-fide projects for prospecting and developing areas m the search for these vital fuels, and, in certain States the archaic mining regulations, originally drawn up to cover metal mining, need considerable amendment to encourage oil seekers from abroad in association with local interests.
To obtain aid from American experts in these matters is no great difficulty, as many of the companies, equipped thoroughly, and willing to help in this search, will now take part payment in sterling for their technique and services.
Whatever be done to stimulate the search, now so desperately necessary, should be planned now, as the subject is vital to Australia’s future and could rank in importance second only to such great natural development schemes as the Snowy River.
THE AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATIVE, BANAGE GROUP OF COMPANIES, LONDON AND BERLIN.