[Marxism] Eastern Siberia Oil and The North Korea/ US Standoff

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sun May 16 12:12:59 MDT 2004

The US is confronting China directly over North Korea. Below are 2 very 
brief articles that give some background to what's involved in the outcome. 
Will the Chinese and Russians develop these oil fields for their mutual 
benfit, or will Japan and the US muscle China out? The Korean Peninsula is 
of strategic importance in this battle over both the development of East 
Siberian oil, and in the battle for economic dominance across all of Asia.

The US is not backing China against Japan in this battlefield, as can easily 
be seen. The major fear of the Cheneyites is that China and Russia will 
somehow team up to defend their own interests (oil and all) in Asia. Will a 
neo-'Popular Front' of these 2 countries somehow coalesce as mutual defense? 
  The US government seems to have decided that the best defense against that 
possibility might be offense, and is seriously considering an invasion of 
North Korea, which is currently a Chinese protectorate that the Chinese use 
as buffer zone to defend themselves against agression from Japan and the US.

Further, a US attack would be a definite US response to the Chinese over the 
question of Taiwan.  Either by exchanging a victory over North Korea and 
allowing China its way with Taiwan (not a likely scenario), or, (most 
likely) a direct offensive against the Chinese by moving to eliminate their 
control of North Korea without any concession to China in regards to the 
reunification of Taiwan with the mainland. This would be a serious setback 
to the Chinese, of course.

The time is now to study these issues before the US government launches us 
all into a new Holy Chrusade against Kim Jong-Il using the fear of WOMD 
proliferation once again.

Tony Abdo
Eastern Siberia's oil will start to be pumped to China no earlier than 2009 

The decision to build an oil pipeline from Eastern Siberia to China may be 
adopted by next August, while oil may start to be delivered through this 
pipe no earlier than in six years, according to a source in the Russian 

The project must be updated to include environmentalists' comments and an 
economic feasibility study before a final decision on the pipe's route is 
adopted, said the source. These will take six to ten months.

Russia is not, thus far, producing oil in Eastern Siberia to deliver it to 
China or another country, noted the government official. The effort to 
prospect oil in the region will take a lot of money and six to eight years 
to be implemented, according to him.

The prospected oil reserves are not enough to launch an economically 
feasible project. "It is not the right thing to build a pipe and think it 
will hopefully get filled with something one day. We should take decisions 
proceeding from what we have in reality and set realistic timeframes," 
emphasized RIA Novosti's interviewee.

The government has, thus far, selected none of the two available projects. 
The "southern" route was worked out by YUKOS oil major in co-operation with 
Transneft, while the "northern" route by YUKOS alone. The "northern" route 
seems to be a better option in terms of the development of Eastern Siberia, 
above all Yakutia, as of today.

Environmentalists' criticism of both projects must not be disregarded, 
emphasized the official. Experts warn that in case of a break in the pipe 
oil will spill into Lake Baikal in five hours' time. This must not be 
allowed to happen, he emphasized. Baikal is the largest fresh water lake on 
the planet.
US to fund Eastern Siberia oil, gas fields study (Reuters)
RUSSIA: August 5, 2002

MOSCOW - The United States said on Thursday it would help Russia fund the 
exploration of new giant oil provinces to maintain Russia's impressive 
output growth and ensure stability on world oil markets. U.S. Energy 
Secretary Spencer Abraham said the two states would consider more 
cooperation, including in building new export routes outside Russia, when 
they meet in Texas in October for what has been billed as "a commercial 
energy summit".

The United States has long actively supported oil and gas projects in the 
former Soviet Union, notably in the Caspian Sea, but has pushed for major 
pipelines to bypass Russia in order to avoid a Moscow monopoly in shipping 
energy to the West.
However, these fears have been softened as Russia, the world's second 
largest oil exporter, could help cushion oil markets against volatile 
supplies from OPEC nations and political turbulence in the Middle East.

"We see Russia playing a great role in terms of global energy security. By 
assisting Russia in exploring their energy resources we improve global 
energy supplies and enhance our trade alliances as well," Abraham told 
reporters after meeting Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov and local oil 

He said the United States would fund a study of offshore oil and gas fields 
in Russia's eastern Siberia region to determine which offered most potential 
for development. "The eastern Siberian offshore oil and gas regions offer 
some of the least studied and potentially most significant geological basins 
in the world," he said. The analysis is part of U.S. current geological 
survey, "Arctic Resource Assessment.

Russian producers are looking to explore untapped oil and gas fields in 
eastern Siberia, which experts say may yield as much oil as the rich fields 
of western Siberia.

Russian companies, however, have never mentioned the eastern Siberian Arctic 
shelf as having potential for huge oil resources. So far only Russia's fifth 
largest oil producer, Sibneft, is conducting modest exploration in Chukotka, 
Russia's easternmost region, opposite Alaska. "I think there was some 
confusion and the idea is to boost our cooperation in eastern Siberia, the 
Barents and Kara Sea and the Sakhalin island shelf. But the idea of 
cooperation is very positive," a Russian participant in talks with Abraham 

MORE PROJECTS IN HOUSTON U.S. oil giants have been so far modestly active in 
Russia, unlike European majors, who have been rushing over the last year to 
acquire new reserves in the country, taking advantage of Russia's improving 
political and economic climate.

"President (George W.) Bush's national energy policy calls for increased 
international cooperation to improve our energy security through the 
development of energy resources throughout the world," Abraham said.

"We recognise that one of the main challenges Russian energy sector is 
facing is access to markets".

"One of the goals of the summit in Houston is to bring Russian and U.S. 
companies together to better familiarise them with challenges and 
opportunities in Russia," he added. Russia currently exports up to three 
million barrels per day of crude to world markets. Its oil output is booming 
for the fourth consecutive year and the country needs to build new export 
routes as its domestic consumption is barely increasing.

Russian oil firms, which typically ship their crude to Europe, have said 
they are ready to supply more crude to the United States but need more deep 
water ports and new logistics to bypass the crowded Turkish straights on the 
Black Sea and the Danish straight in the north.

Russia's second oil producer YUKOS has already made the country's first ever 
large crude direct shipment to the United States in June, selling two 
million barrels of oil to ExxonMobil.

A second tanker sailed in July and another is due to leave next month, with 
plans to send up to six to the U.S. Gulf Coast by the end of the year.

Abraham has also been holding talks with Russia's atomic energy officials 
and raised on Thursday strong objections to Russia's cooperation in nuclear 
power with Iran, including plans announced last week to build up to six 
reactors in the country.

Story by Dmitry Zhdannikov

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