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CONFIRMED: North Korea has enough oil to survive embargo

While a full scale oil embargo against North Korea is unlikely, the reality is that North Korea would be able to survive such a measure with comparative ease.

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The United States has recently suggested a global oil embargo against North Korea, something both China and Russia oppose. The DPRK’s neighbours to the north support UN sanctions against Pyongyang, but have firmly opposed unilateral US sanctions against North Korea.

Russia and China have made a commitment never to support sanctions against Pyongyang which could negatively impact on the civilian population of their neighbour and this would almost certainly include a full-scale oil embargo.

On the contrary, Russia’s plan to de-escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula is to develop trilateral economic initiatives linking South and North Korea to Russia. Given the realities on the peninsula, Russia’s ‘carrot’ is seen as preferable on both sides of the 38th parallel to Washington’s increasingly bellicose ‘stick’.

READ MORE: Two Koreas–One Road

But even if Donald Trump was somehow able to convince the world to engage in an oil embargo against North Korea, North Korea would appear to have enough domestic oil reserves to make up for the loss of imports.

In addition to large reserves of domestic coal and the increased reliance on green energy in the form of hydroelectric power , North Korea’s domestic oil reserves are likely far greater than previous conservative estimates have indicated.

Even prior to the new threat of sanctions, North Korea has been increasingly self-sufficient in beginning to tap its still largely unused oil reserves.

In 2015, when relations between the DPRK and the rest of the world were somewhat better than they are at present, independent oil exploration expert Michael Rego investigated North Korea’s oil potential.

The results of his report paint a broadly positive picture for North Korea, a state which has always striven towards economic self-sufficiency, a principle implicit in the Juche idea of the DPRK’s founder Kim Il-Sung, which remains Pyongyang’s guiding political programme.

An summary of Rego’s report, first published in GeoExPro, was published by The Maritime Executive. The key elements are as follows, with bold lettering added to emphasise the most pertinent findings.

“China conducted surveys off the west coast (of North Korea) in the 1960s. Subsequently, Russia has also conducted surveys along with Taurus Petroleum in Switzerland and Malaysia’s Petronas.

NK News reports Rego saying that the West Sea definitely has oil and has flowed oil at reasonable rates from at least two exploration wells.

However, the country’s political climate, including sanctions currently in force, and water depths of up to 2,500 meters off the east coast present barriers to development. A shortage of funds is likely to further hamper development. In the 1990s, North Korea couldn’t provide food for its population, and it continues to struggle to meet the energy demands of its population, generally falling short even in providing electricity to its capital city.

Despite the possible hurdles, some companies appear undaunted, reports NK News. The China Railway Investments Group recently said they were planning large scale investment in North Korea including the oil and gas sector.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) states, as of July 2015, that the country has no proven oil reserves or petroleum and other liquids production. During North Korea’s industrial peak in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the country was able to import oil from China and the Soviet Union at below market prices. Following the end of the Cold War, these deals ended, and North Korea’s oil consumption dropped from 76,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 1991 to 17,000 b/d in 2013.

It is difficult to get an exact estimate of the amount of oil imported into North Korea each year, states the EIA. Some estimates report that North Korea imports more than half of its oil from China and some volumes from Russia. North Korea has the capacity to refine 64 thousand barrels a day, however as a result of the economic decline, has utilization rates below 20 percent. Despite this, North Korea is able to refine enough crude oil to meet some of their domestic demand.

North Korea is currently under international United Nations economic sanctions due to its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs. These sanctions restrict North Korea’s access to international banking, trade and travel. North Korea is also under economic sanctions from individual nations such as the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan”.

The report clearly indicates that in spite of sanctions limiting some of North Korea’s ability to extract its own oil, the country does have enough proven reserves, which as of 2015, the country was able to refine in order to meet the needs of domestic consumption. These needs have not changed significantly since 2015.

In 2004, the UK company Aminex PLC estimated that a North Korea oil shelf off the Sea of Japan which was first explored in a joint effort between the DPRK and another British company in 1998, contains 4-5 billion barrels of crude oil.

Sputnik reports,

“Simultaneously, the Mongolian company HBOil conducted exploration activities in the area south of Pyongyang and drilled 22 wells. Most of wells contained crude, allowing the DPRK to extract an average of 75 barrels per day from each of them”.

As Rego’s report stated, in spite of lacking the means (due primarily to sanctions) to purchase modern drilling/extracting equipment from abroad, North Korea still has it within its capabilities to extract enough oil to supply domestic needs.

While most of North Korea’s drilling equipment as of 2015 was purchased from Romania dating back to the Ceausescu period, the country also possesses more widely produced Soviet equipment.

Most experts believe that North Korea has the ability to reverse engineer its existing imported equipment to build contemporary versions without the need to import any specific supplies.

While North Korea’s detractors often focus on what the country lacks in terms of foreign made technological devices, both in the civilian, military and energy sectors, the reality is that considering this artificial deprivation, North Korea has done remarkably well in designing its own computer systems, weapons systems and in many ways most importantly, energy extraction systems.

Based on North Korea’s own claims as well as those of independent experts and contractors who have no reason to exaggerate North Korea’s oil wealth, it is simply a matter of North Korea utilising existing oil extraction systems more effectively combined with building additional new systems based on reliable old models, in order to be largely embargo-proof when it comes to energy.

In any event, the political tensions Donald Trump has created between the US on one hand and China and Russia on the other, means that such an oil embargo is unlikely in any case. But given the tense political atmosphere and the traditional North Korean emphasis on understanding Autarky in positive terms, North Korea may well be immune to such threats sooner rather than later, in any case.

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seby
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seby

Putin: US put us on sanctions list alongside N Korea & then ask us to toughen sanctions against it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilX1qms10xw

The imperial warmongers of the USA have achieved what they wanted. To fend off efforts to reunify the country while creating a justification for continued US military occupation. And deployment of the THAAD missile system which features “powerful AN/TPY-2 radar, that can be used to spy on Chinese territory, and the interceptors are designed to protect US bases and troops in the event of nuclear war with China or Russia.

Kaput
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Kaput

what they really have done is awake the Dragon…..

seby
Guest
seby

I don’t believe the Dragon and the Bear have ever been asleep. The eagle has been a squawking and begging seagull for a long time. Now it’s emptying its bowels everywhere.

Laughing on the Way to Armageddon
https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2017/09/09/laughing-on-the-way-to-armageddon/

Jets
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Jets

If it wasn’t serious, PCR would make an excellent comedian.

“It reveals that the US is in the Roman collapse stage when the emperor appoints horses to the Senate.

Man, no one could come up with this :-))

Two thumbs up :-))

peacefullyexpress
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peacefullyexpress

North Koreans will brave Satan and all his legions courageously.

Curtis Bok
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Curtis Bok

When you use bold lettering in the midst of that miserable font that you have been using for quotations, it really highlights how bad the non-bold font is. Just look at the difference and compare the ease of reading between the two. Why don’t you give your readers a break and stop using that terrible typeface for quotations?

XRGRSF
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XRGRSF

Just look at all that the DPRK has accomplished. Beyond their development of weapons, to include nuclear weapons, they have multiple engineering disciplines, architecture, high tech industry, sufficient agricultural production, an adequate power grid, excellent schools, modern medicine, and most of all, happy people. All of this was accomplished while waging economic, political, and military warfare with the West. How did they do it? Is this a “Hermit Kingdom”?

Bottom line: DPRK has it going on, BIG TIME.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

I do sincerely hope so, not for Kim, but for its population, they deserve a better deal, and all modern western amenities, readily available to us in a civilised country…… ( and I am not including yankedoom )

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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