Oil for the Navy
The difference in smoke emitted by the H.M.S. Ferret when fueled by oil (above), and coal. Photo: Illustrated London News [London, England], 26 July 1913

Oil for the Navy

Published: 17 July 1913

Mr. Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, this afternoon, spoke in the House of Commons extolling the virtues of oil as a fuel-source for the navy. Its advantages over coal include, he claimed, an increased radius of action and a less strenuous re-fuelling procedure. Also, it doesn’t require as much labour for trimming and stoking as coal.

With regard to its supply in war-time, Mr. Churchill stressed the importance of taking precautions against being forced to pay excessive prices. To this end, he suggested a two-pronged approach: firstly setting up oil reserves, and secondly securing the control of oil-bearing area, enabling Britain to prepare the oil for use herself.

He went on to say that a number of contracts had been secured for the next five years. While he was unwilling, for both commercial and strategic reasons, to give details of these contracts or the names of the contractors, he did read a comprehensive disclaimer on behalf of the members of the Board of the Admiralty stating categorically that not one of them had any interest, either direct or indirect, in supplying oil to the navy.

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