Oil in Dead Sea Area Not Enough for Paying Basis

While some oil has apparently been discovered recently in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, Palestine, the quantities found are not sufficient to make it a paying proposition, Dr. Drummond Shiels, under-secretary for the Colonies, declared today in the House of Commons in response to an inquiry from Wardlaw Milne, Conservative M. P., whether the government had received any applications for exploiting the petroleum area.

Dr. Shiels said that the Standard Oil Company and the Anglo-Persian Company had conducted investigations and the latter had decided that the prospects were not sufficiently good to warrant further exploration. Other companies, however, he explained, have since applied for exploration permits on the basis of promises given before the war by the Turkish government for conducting investigations for petroleum and other minerals.

Last November a sensational report gained currency in Jerusalem that the Palestine government had granted 500,000 acres of land in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea to an English group affiliated with the Standard Oil Company. This report was officially denied and it was explained that D. A. Sutherland, a mining engineer, was exploring for oil over an area of 100,000 hectares between the Dead Sea and Beersheba on a permit that would shortly expire.

As far back as 1922 reports of oil in Palestine cropped up only to be denied.

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