Oil Bill Presented to Knesset; Speedy Action Urged by Government

The long-expected oil bill was introduced in the Israeli Parliament today by Minister of Finance Levi Eshkol who explained the importance of the measure and asked that the bill be adopted by Parliament prior to recessing for the summer. A debate on the bill will open next Monday.

Introducing the bill, Mr. Eshkol said that the measure concerned “one of the most precious treasures of the state.” “We hope and we trust our luck to strike oil and to enrich our country, especially when the prospectors use the most modern achievements in science and technique.” he declared.

In connection with the presentation of the bill, Israel Koslov, Finance Ministry oil expert, told a press conference here yesterday that the bill is the result of two years of intensive work. He reported that the Ministry had consulted 20 topflight American oil experts on various points in the bill, and said that it conforms with international petroleum legislation.

Mr. Koslov admitted that the bill was hard on concessionaires in its timing, but said that it was liberal in other respects. The government, he stated, is encouraging competition in oil prospecting to speed up the discovery of oil which it needs so badly. He also revealed that after discussions with the Iraq Petroleum Company, which held 29 of 31 oil prospecting licenses granted by the Palestine Administration, the government has cancelled all 31 licenses.

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