Japan discovers Daqing oil fields in 1935 - how does it change their foreign policy?

200 hundred more Type 89 Tanks is all that's needed to finish off the KMT, says the IJA in 1937, that's what you are fighting
Except the strike's made in 1935, when you're not fighting anyone so you can plan to wait until the field is producing at least some of the oil you need.
 
Last edited:
Surface deposits typically do not have much capacity. How many barrels a day for the test well? most of the later fields were over 1500-2000' down

Most of that area seems to be shale, so that's v. heavy crude and not easy to get, and probably need fracking to get get the most out of it.
It's no Spindletop, waiting to blow
Liaohe produced 16 million tonnes a year at its height and isn't shale. As for the Daqing, it's range of 900-1200 meters was easily achieved by Japan even under the conditions of 1945.
 
So you’re saying the industrial limit of the Japanese Empire is one or the other? They’re either able to fight the Chinese bandits (regular military opposition having ceased in ‘32) or exploit the oil fields, but not both?

How did they manage to do all that they did post-‘37 if fighting bandits in Manchuria took up all of their materials and investments?
I'm not getting you. The POD is 1935. I think it's obvious we'd be talking about the Second Sino-Japanese war by "a war". Japan poured a fortune in China and suffered the consequence throughout the rest of the war.

For further proof on Japan's ability:


One year of surveys, followed by a year of test borings and then first production achieved. Also fun fact: the Fuhshin deposits are near/part of the Liaohe Oil Field....
Just to be clear, that survey formally began in December 24 1937, but they were boring at Fuxin since 1935 after a local colliery reported finding of oil. It was a dedicated effort from the military but went nowhere after boring 46 holes including a hole of 1700m, and extracting 200l of petroleum. For the reasons I have pointed on this thread before, Japan's oil industries were dismissive to the military's finding and effort. In the word of an engineer from the Japan Mining Co., "It is stunning that they kept digging with patience under such a situation.".

Liaohe produced 16 million tonnes a year at its height and isn't shale. As for the Daqing, it's range of 900-1200 meters was easily achieved by Japan even under the conditions of 1945.
Liaohe isn't shale, but it's very heavy, heavier than Daqing. For transportation, Daqing's 30℃ pour point is problematic already, but we're now talking about Liaohe's 40℃ pour point. These points were talked back in 2017 so I will not repeat the same argument at length, but below quote should capture the problem with the Liaohe oil easily.

 
I'm not getting you. The POD is 1935. I think it's obvious we'd be talking about the Second Sino-Japanese war by "a war". Japan poured a fortune in China and suffered the consequence throughout the rest of the war.
The PoD is
...supposedly Japan came very close to them in the mid-1930s, they are enough to supply the need of Japan's military at the time and then some. How does this change Japan's foreign policy in years to come if they suddenly have a major surplus of readily exploitable oil?
As to a War you said
Prosecuting war requires materials and investments too.
In response to my point about the Japanese having the resources to exploit the oil fields.

I took that to imply that you were inferring they Japanese could do one or the other but not both
 
OK. Lets assume you drilled some wells and found some oil - lets say a couple of those wells are good, at 1000 barrels per day (if you're a Soviet and therefore metric, remember its 7 barrels to a ton). You probably have a rough idea of what formation you found that oil in. You don't know if they are small isolated pockets, or one connected field.

Therefore, more test wells and more mapping. You want to push out the limits of the field. This will get even worse if it's oil that "shouldnt" be there (like, well, Daqing. We still arent 100% sure of the age of that oil and therefore it's source rocks). This may well need more drilling rigs moved in and more crews trained.

You also are going to need a pipeline or railroad from that field to your refinery system. This may well involve building new port infrastructure as well. You're going to want decent quality roads as well.

Note you dont want to do this if you got lucky on three wells, and found three small enthusiastic 2000 bopd wells that ran for a month before starting to water out - so you are probably going to wait till you've done a lot of test wells and mapped the field correctly.

Once this is done, you may well need to 'tune' your refinery for the sort of oil you've now got - if you had an oil refinery that was designed to deal with heavy, waxy crude, then it's not going to like light but slightly sulfer tainted crude, and will need to be rebuilt.

You're also going to need to build water-handling facilities at your field, and probably housing for your new workforce, resupply and maintainence for your drilling and pipeline crews and so on.

So. Yeah. All this takes time.

From the demand side, https://defense.info/re-thinking-strategy/2018/10/oil-and-war/ is pretty good.
Hmmmm. I agree on most but lets say the first couple of drills come back positive, now sure you want to map the boundaries, but why not start exploitation of the area in the vicinity of the original finding. This doesn’t get you to full capacity at once, but at a faster initial exploitation.
Would make sense to me.
 
I took that to imply that you were inferring they Japanese could do one or the other but not both
both can be done, but all out effort on Oil will cut into the Military, and they won't be happy about that
Yes, lots of Oil is great for the Navy, but the Army is focused on taking over more of China

IMO, with early discovery work would be done, but 1935 just isn't early enough for the time it takes to develop a field, WWII will start, and the IJA does what they do, after getting thumped by the Soviets, which won't be changed by oil discovery

IJA will take over Indochina to try and squeeze China, and that's the collision cours with the Dutch, Americans and British.
By time the Japanese could Transport Oil to the Home Islands, they will be at risk of US subs and B-29 mining
 
would you call it peaceful between 1932 and 1939? That would be news to those in Manchuria, and then later with Shanghai and Nanking
I would call it counterinsurgency operations, mostly low-level but occasionally spiking. In Manchuria, where we're talking about.
 
both can be done, but all out effort on Oil will cut into the Military, and they won't be happy about that
Yes, lots of Oil is great for the Navy, but the Army is focused on taking over more of China

IMO, with early discovery work would be done, but 1935 just isn't early enough for the time it takes to develop a field, WWII will start, and the IJA does what they do, after getting thumped by the Soviets, which won't be changed by oil discovery

IJA will take over Indochina to try and squeeze China, and that's the collision cours with the Dutch, Americans and British.
By time the Japanese could Transport Oil to the Home Islands, they will be at risk of US subs and B-29 mining
Again, the idea is the discovery changes things. As in they do not do what they did OTL.
 
French Indochina will still be desirable for its massive contribution to global rubber supplies as synthetic rubber is still a ways off from being viable - Silly Putty was the botch results of one early attempt. Until S4 goes wide later, Malaya and French Indochina are strategically important for that reason. Japan already has a petrochemical industry so I hoped that would help take oil production from test wells to viable large-scale extraction in shorter order. But as Stenz points out my hope was that discussion would center on what would change as a result of such a find in 1935, though I appreciate the technical discussions about how the scale-up would occur as well.
 
So in answer to the OP’s question:

It will change nothing as the Japanese are stupid and lazy?
It's not just that - although there was buckets of stupid and lazy in the WW2 regime.

It's that they

1. Don't have a National Oil Company worth the name,

2, Have been relying on imports, and

3. Are run by a bunch of insane militarists who have deep contempt for industrial processes and similar merchant activity.

Note that, for those of you who are actually following this and not just trying to wank the Axis, that the British were not able to get high quality avgas in sufficient quantity out of Abadan and the other actual producing-before-the-war oil fields they owned. This isn't as easy as pointing at a map and saying 'Army Group Steiner will get us the oil we need'' !

Specifically in the case of Japan, developing Daqing quickly (ie in a decade or so) is going to need first call on Japanese industry and foriegn currency reserves.

This means it has to be put ahead of both the war in China *and* the Naval buildup.

Good luck with convinving the Army and Navy of that.
 
Last edited:
Hmmmm. I agree on most but lets say the first couple of drills come back positive, now sure you want to map the boundaries, but why not start exploitation of the area in the vicinity of the original finding. This doesn’t get you to full capacity at once, but at a faster initial exploitation.
Would make sense to me.
Because you're going to need to build - at absolute minimum - a railway and a bunch of tank cars and some new port facilities.

If you have what turns out to be a tiny field that ends up watering out after a month, explaining the "railway to nowhere" will be embaressing.
 
The PoD is

As to a War you said


In response to my point about the Japanese having the resources to exploit the oil fields.

I took that to imply that you were inferring they Japanese could do one or the other but not both
As I said somewhere in this thread, Japan "can't have the cake and eat it too" on this case. Oil industry is one of the most capital intensive sector for a reason, and the expense needs to come from somewhere. They need to avoid war to make real differences.

The Second Sino-Japanese war required really a lot of materials, and many of them could only be obtained from external sources. Import of oil and fuel products were point of this discussion, but there were other war materials required such as metals, steels, pulps, foods, and machines tools, and many others. Take machine tool for example. Japan could produce machine tools on their own, but like oil and others, not all machine tools are same, some could be manufactured at home but some were too advanced for Japan. They were dependent to foreign imports of, for example, broaching machines, precision grinders, gear cutting machines, and other advanced machine tools. In 1936, Japan imported about 15 million Yen worth of machine tools, then in 1937, as the war demanded increased war production, demands for machine tools were increased in turn, and 41 million Yen worth tools were imported. The volume doubled to 92 million Yen in 1938, and throughout the next year, 1939, Japan imported 152 million Yen worth of machine tools. 84% of those tools came from America.

Such pressure plunged Japan's current account to nose-down, from a health surplus of 236 million Yen in 1936 to 548 million Yen deficit in 1937 and 549 million Yen deficit in 1938. Japan's foreign reserves was placed in an extreme condition. One source states "During 1939 Japan's reserves of foreign exchange expressed in U.S. dollars had fallen nearly 20 percent.". And we're adding petroleum extracting machines, oil pipes and transportation equipments, refining plants on top of that, even more increasing foreign dependency - at least for a while. Foreign capitals are highly unlikely to get involved given the military's utter opposition against foreign investment in other military relevant sectors, so Japan need to finance the development on their own, from their dwindling war chest. Given its military importance I do not doubt the Japanese military would be more than happy to squeeze the budget, and again, I do not doubt they'll be doing their utmost to start production. But yes, I believe they could do one or the other but not both. Again, They need to avoid war to make real differences.
 
Last edited:
As I said somewhere in this thread, Japan "can't have the cake and eat it too" on this case. Oil industry is one of the most capital intensive sector for a reason, and the expense needs to come from somewhere. They need to avoid war to make real differences.
One hundred percent agreed. Which is what I’ve been trying to argue for most of this thread. Yet several times you seem to be arguing the costs of war would preclude their exploitation of the oil.

There was a significant window where Japan had conquered Manchuria, was only facing an insurgency campaign, had secured the Chinese government’s acquiescence in the occupation of Manchuria and had yet to expand their operations to the “rest” of China.

In this window the PoD is the finding of the oil.

I’m saying the Japanese will hold with what they currently have in Manchuria to exploit the oil find, before launching any new combat operations.

You seem, as far as I can tell, to be saying the Japanese will continue on an OTL course of action (for reasons) rather than pursuing the chance to become oil independent.

This is the point of confusion for me. Why would the Japanese pass up the chance to be immune to oil embargoes?
 
Top