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Thursday, 10 June 1915

Mr FLEMING asked the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -

What is being done in the way of developing the oil- fields of Papua?

Mr MAHON - The- answer to the honorable member's question is: -

Practically all preliminary work in the way of surveys and the geological examination of district has been completed. Various experimental bores have been put down. None of these reached a greater depth than 400 feet. Small quantities of oil of a superior character have been obtained.

Machinery has been procured for the purpose of sinking deep wells.

Three experienced oil drillers have been engaged. Two of them have just arrived from Canada.

Drilling operations on selected sites are about to be begun.

Considerable clearing has been effected, and houses have been erected for the accommodation of employees.

A small steamer has been built to maintain communication between Port Moresby and the Vailala River.

The whole of the work is being carried on under the direction of Dr. Wade, an experienced petroleum expert.

Mr Fleming - When does the Minister expect any results?

Mr MAHON - We already have results, which I can show the honorable member.

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