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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
Guest
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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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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Crimea: The Geopolitical Jewel Russia Continues to Polish

As Putin continues to polish his Black Sea jewel, Europe has to decide if it is going to continue playing the U.S’s games over Ukraine or begin the next phase of its independence.

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Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


With all that is happening in the world Crimea has taken a bit of a backseat recently. Yes, the US, EU and Canada just added more sanctions on Russia via the odious Magnitsky legislation but this is inconsequential.

There’s been a flurry of good news coming out of Crimea and the Black Sea recently that bears discussion. Let’s start with the most important. President Vladimir Putin was in Crimea earlier this week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia. There he also officially inaugurated two major upgrades to Crimea’s power grid.

Located in Simferopol and Sevastopol, two new power plants will produce 940 megawatts and secure Crimea’s energy needs for now and into the future.

Power has been Crimea’s Achilles’ heel since breaking off from Ukraine in 2014. It received almost 90% of its power from the mainland. In November 2015, the trunk lines into Crimea were sabotaged by Ukrainian nationalist radicals, encouraged by President Petro Poroshenko plunging it into darkness as winter took hold.

Does this sound familiar? A place that defies US edicts geopolitically is first hit with a full trade embargo, sanctions and threatened militarily by proxies before having its electricity shut off?

*Cough* Venezuela *Cough*

And there are reports that the US has game-planned a similar fate for Iran as well. For Crimea it was easy because of the single-point-of-failure, the trunks from the mainland. For Venezuela it was as well, with the Guri dam, which affected nearly 70 percent of the country.

So, Putin timing the fifth anniversary of reunification with the announcement of the plants moving to full operational status was yet another smooth bit of international political maneuvering.

A not-so-subtle poke in the eye of the Gang Who Can’t Sanction Straight in D.C. as well as lame duck Poroshenko. Elections are at the end of the month and this celebration by Russia and Crimea will not sit well with many Ukrainians, especially the diaspora here in the US which is virulently anti-Putin in my experience.

Secure and stable power generation is a hallmark of a first world territory. Without that economic growth and stability are impossible. This is why to first help stabilize the situation in Crimea after the blackout Russia brought in 400 MW of power across the Kerch Strait from Krasnodor.

Tying Crimea to the mainland via the Kerch Strait bridge was a masterstroke by Putin. The initial power lines were simply a necessity. For those that complain he isn’t doing enough to counter US and European aggression need only look at the Kerch Strait bridge.

Not only did the Russians not seek international approval given the nearly universal refusal to recognize Crimea as Russian they built the thing in a time frame that defies description.

Imagine if this had been an EU project. They would still be debating the initial engineering plans and the political effects on some protected minority.

Not only does it open up the Eastern Black Sea to trade via Crimea but it ends the use of the Sea of Azov as a potential staging ground for naval provocations as last fall’s incident proved. Ukraine is cut off from acting aggressively and cannot count on any help from the US and Europe.

Moreover, Crimea is now permanently Russia’s. And every bit of infrastructure Russia builds there ties the two further together and weakens any bonds Crimea had with Ukraine. The resultant growth and modernization will make its way, economically and culturally back into southern Ukraine and erode the hard border over time.

This is far more important than striking out and metaphorically punching Poroshenko in the mouth, that many of Putin’s detractors wish for.

Presidents change, after all. Patience and attrition is how you beat an aggressive, distant enemy like the US

To remind everyone just how insane the Trump White House has become on matters international, no less than Vice President Mike Pence lobbied Germany to provoke another naval incident at the Kerch Strait.

If there was ever an example of how little Trump’s gang of moldy neocons think of Europe it is this bit of news. In effect, Pence was saying, “We can’t start a war with Russia because it would go nuclear, but you can because Russia can’t live without your trade.”

This coming after the US unilaterally pulled out of the INF treaty and is now flying nuclear bombers to eastern Europe. The message is clear. If the EU doesn’t get with this open-ended belligerent program against Russia and China of John Bolton’s they will be the ones paying the price when chaos breaks out.

On the other side there is Putin; building bridges, pipelines, power plants and roads.

He’s making it clear what the future holds not only for Europe but the Middle East, central Asia and India. We will defend Crimea at all costs, develop it not only into a tourist destination but also a major trade hub as well.

You are more than welcome to join us. But, we don’t need you.

These power plants will raise Crimea’s power output well beyond its current needs, allowing first export of power as well as providing the foundation for future growth.

And as if it weren’t coordinated in any way, the Chinese, on the morning of Putin’s speech, announced that Crimea would be an excellent fit for investment projects attached to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

That’s according to the head of the association of Chinese compatriots on the peninsula, Ge Zhili. “Our organization is bolstering cooperation ties, exchanges and friendly contacts with the Crimean society,” he said at an event dedicated to the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, which was held in the Russian Embassy in Beijing on Monday.

It is also ready to contribute to the establishment of “reliable partner ties” and the explanation of legal details of business cooperation with Crimea, Ge Zhili said. “The Chinese society hopes for the development of friendly cooperation with Crimea; we are ready to overcome difficulties for fruitful results.”

Again this is a direct challenge to the US who has Crimea under strict sanctions in the West. China is happy now to move forward with integrating Crimea into its plans. It’s just another example of how Russia and China simply ignore Trump’s fulminations and move on.

I can’t wait until I get to write this article all over again, this time about North Korea, now that Bolton has thrown Russian and Chinese assistance in getting North Korea to the negotiating table back in their face by destroying the Hanoi talks.

This announcement is not to be underestimated given that Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is in Rome this week to open up relations with the new Italian government. Five Star Movement’s Leader Luigi Di Maio said he would welcome becoming a part of BRI, much to the consternation of Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as his coalition partner Lega Leader Matteo Salvini.

It’s already well known that Salvini is interested in ending sanctions on Crimea and re-opening trade with Russia. Italy is desperate for new markets and opportunities, currently stifled under the euro itself as well as Germany’s insistence on austerity hollowing out Italy’s economy and its future prospects.

These issues as well as energy security ones are coming to a head this year with Brexit, the European Parliamentary elections in May and the completion of the Nordstream 2 pipeline later this year.

As Putin continues to polish his Black Sea jewel, Europe has to decide if it is going to continue playing the U.S’s games over Ukraine or begin the next phase of its independence. Salvini will lead a Euroskeptic revolt within the European Parliament in May. It may be big enough to finally defy Merkel and end EU sanctions on Russia over Crimea.

At that point the US will also have a choice, burn down the world economy with even more sanctions, tariffs and acts of war or accept the facts on the ground.

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