JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
The projected withdrawal of the British Petroleum and Shell Oil Companies from sales operations in Israel may be one of several “bribes” British oil interests are offering to the Arabs in bargaining for renewal or oil concessions, informed Israel sources suggested today.
These sources said that a “revolution” had been introduced in Western-Arabian oil relations by the offer of Italy’s national oil company of 75 percent royalties to Iran instead of the 40 percent paid by Western oil firms to Arab countries.
As a result, these sources said, initial talks now underway on renewal of western concessions involved haggling over Arab demands for a boost above the current 50 per cent schedule.
Accompanying the talks, the Israel sources said, were backstage hints of abandonment of a projected Turkish oil pipeline as another presumable “bribe” to the Arabs. The crisis in Syria has renewed interest in a Turkish pipeline, it was disclosed, because the Tapline which runs through Syria has become more doubtful as dependable transmission medium. Tapline carries about 20, 000, 000 tons of oil annually as compared with about 75, 000, 000 tons moved via the Suez Canal. The projected Turkish line would carry 50, 000, 000 tons a year.
The Israel sources also said there was speculation that the uncertainty about oil transit through the Syrian pipelines might renew interest in the projected 32-inch line from Elath to Haifa.