Haifa Oil Refineries Resume Operations; Will Get Oil from Britain and United States

The Haifa oil refineries which have been shut down for about two years after the Arabs interrupted the flow of crude oil from Iraq to Haifa, today resumed operations as a result of agreements reached recently between the Jewish state and oil companies in Britain and the United States.

David Horowitz, Director-General of the Ministry of Finance, who concluded the agreements in London and Washington, was present today at the resumption of activity. A trial run proved that the machinery had been kept in perfect order since the refineries closed at the start of the Arab-Israel war.

The refineries have been twice reopened for short periods since then. They were closed again because of Egypt’s refusal to allow crude oil to be transported through the Suez Canal. The refining capacity of the Haifa refineries is estimated at 4,000,000 tons a year with a possible top limit of 7,000,000 tons. However, experts today considered that actual output initially would be less than 1,000,000 tons. Work will be speeded up as soon as crude oil stocks reach a required mark.

(In London, Reuters’ financial editor wrote today that, although the source of the oil now being used had not been officially revealed, oil experts believe it is Quater, a sheikdom of the Persian Gulf, with supplementary supplies from South America. To avoid the Suez Canal, the oil from Quatar would be shipped by a round-about route of about 13,000 miles via the Cape of Good Hope, believed to be the longest tanker run in the world. The Journey is about ten times as long as the direct distance from Quatar to Haifa, and 20 times the distance from the Kirkuk oilfields in Iraq, Reuters’ editor emphasized.)

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