Japanese Oil

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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Redbaron1908
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Japanese Oil

Post by Redbaron1908 » 10 Mar 2003 23:57

Hello this morning I was watching the history channel and saw that the americans used thier submarine fleet to sink the japanese tankers that carried oil to japan. I was wandering were japan got its oil does anyone know. Thanks

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Steve
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Post by Steve » 13 Mar 2003 03:03

Dutch East Indies, Burma, maybe Brunei not sure. The British did a good job of wrecking the Burma oilfields took a long time to get production going again. A rare example if British army efficiency at that time.

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megjur
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Post by megjur » 13 Mar 2003 05:47

The Dutch did a pretty good job of destroying the Indonesian oil refineries, but Japan was able to get some into production and begin getting some oil back to Japan. US submarines did a great job of sinking just about the entire Japanese merchant fleet, which was inadequate to begin with.

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Redbaron1908
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Post by Redbaron1908 » 13 Mar 2003 19:10

so if the Japanese could not get oil to japan what did they use syntetic fuels another question how much oil did these oil fields produce

ChristopherPerrien
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Jap oil shortage

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 19 Mar 2003 23:57

Basically Japan ran out of oil fighting the war. Their synthetic fuel production never really got going( I believe they try to use primarily Pine roots i. e. turpentine to make fuel. They did not have access to much coal which was the prime ingredient in German syn fuel production.

This lack of natural resources was one of the prime factors for them invading China, and after Roosevelt cut off much of their raw material imports of gasoline and steel was "the" cause of the Japanese attacking America, British and Dutch possesions in the Pacific. The embargo would have beat Japan slightly faster than we(the U.S.) did anyway.

There is something to be said that Roosevelt cut off imports to goad Japan into a war so he could get us into the war against Germany. This was both his and Churchill primary goal.

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Redbaron1908
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Post by Redbaron1908 » 20 Mar 2003 04:29

Thank you ChristopherPerrien for your thoughts I did not know that the japanese made gas out of turpentine

Simon Gunson
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Japanese Oil

Post by Simon Gunson » 03 May 2004 13:42

Hi Red Baron,

The answer is a bit like how long is a length of string... I mean at what stage of the war ?

Up until 1944 Japan had several sources of oil. The Palembang refinery at Sumatra built by the Dutch was a key source. Don't quote me for dates, but the British Pacific Fleet sailed from Trincomalee in Ceylon with three aircraft carriers about October 1944 and I understand carrier aircraft raided the refinery. There were also B-24 Liberators based from Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean doing raids aswell.

Prior to the attack on Leyte Gulf much of the remaining Japanese fleet used Brunei as an anchorage because they got oil from there.

As US sub fleets operating as wolfpacks took out more and more tankers
Japan had to start flying oil by Ohtori or Phoenix transport planes. These used 80% of their oil cargo on the aircraft's trip.

Japan was indeed desperate for oil by late in the war.

Incidentally U-boat crews of U-flottilla 33 in the far east using Indonesian fuel hated the stuff because it was so waxy that it gave off huge clouds of smoke.

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Redbaron1908
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Post by Redbaron1908 » 04 May 2004 02:14

Hello Mr. Gunson,

Thank you for the very informative post, which has opened my intrests in the pacific arena again. I did not know about that refinery, or much on Japanese oil. Do you know of other major refineries that Japan used during the war? Were they in Japan or in the captured territories, any help would be appriciated, thanks in advance.

Red

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Windward
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Post by Windward » 05 May 2004 03:40

There were some synthetic fuel plants in south Manchuria, near the coalfield Fushun. Japanese (especially Navy) used the abundant oil shale there* to produce synthetic fuel. First plant open on Dec 30 1929, output 75,000 tons of oil in 1930, anticipation to 100,000 tons in 1935 but never achieve that goal for technical reasons.


*As Japanese Navy investigated in 1929, the oil shale resource in Fushun were
below 500 meters depth: 1.2 billion tons
below 1000 meters depth: 2.4 billion tons
below 8000 meters depth: 4.8 billion tons
the extract rate was 6%, 100 tons of oil shale could produce 6 tons of oil abstractly.

Fushun belonged to the SMR (South Manchuria Railways Co.) accessorily, where Japanese took charge of its military, police, judicatory, economy and revenue, and have rights to mine any resources there.



Japanese had their own oilfields before 1945, in south Sakhalin (and leased north Sakhalin oilfields). "Nippon Sekiyo Kaisha" (Nippon Oil Corporation) was the largest oil exploitation and refinery company in Japan. But the output wasn't high. In 1930 the outputs of Japanese owned oilfields were:
Sakhalin (including northern part) 193,000 tons
Hokkaido 7,500 tons
Formosa 32,000 tons
Homeland (northeast Honsho) 226,000 tons
total 458,500 tons
domestic demand was 1,500,000 tons, naval demand (200,000 to 300,000 tons) not included

so Japan had to import at least 1,300,000 tons of oil in 1930.

It's unfortunately for Japanese (but fortunately for we Chinese) that they didn't find Anda (now Daqing, locate in north Manchuria) oilfield in the 1930s, or the history might be changed. There are 5.7 billion tons of oil there, 2.2 billions could be mined by the technology of the 1940s. If they found there, then Japanese needn't declair war against America in 1941. It's said that engineers of Standard Oil found geologic structure of large oil field there in the 1920s, but kept it secret to Japanese in order to sell more oil to them. :wink:


regards

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Japanese Oil

Post by Simon Gunson » 05 May 2004 08:52

Dear Red

Please just call me Simon... I'm sure other members call me simple.

Sorry I don't have a great deal of knowlege about refineries in the area in WW2 which is ironic because my father was a crewman on Regent Tiger a small oil tanker which was one of the last ships to escape Singapore, before it's surrender.

My father always told me the Japanese were forced into war because of the US naval blockade (or embargo ?) from July 1941.

The Japanese had to capture these oilfields and refineries quite quickly or the country would lose the war in a matter of weeks as I understand it.

There are also oilfields on the Arakan or west coast of Burma, but I don't know if these were producing in 1941. That would explain the need for the Bridge on the river Kwai etc.

I assume if there was an oilfield producing at Brunei on the Northwest side of Borneo Island then there must have been a refinery there too.

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Post by M. Schroeder » 09 May 2004 19:08

It is interesting to note that despite heavy bombing of Japanese Oil refineries on the island, there never was a significant impact to everyday living on Japan. Even though there was less fuel produced, at the same time there was also fuel needed, since people didnt have jobs to go to anymore (dud to saturation bombing), and the limited use of vehicles by the population in all instances.

heavy bombing = less mobility = less fuel used = less fuel needed.

I have a series of bomb assesment photo's from part of 20 th AAF 315th Bomb wing pilots effects, and they clearly show that despite Japan being low on fuel and oil, the refineries were still a prime target. The photos are described as follows:

7 sets ( 14 total) of original 8X 10 bomb damage assessment photos , before and after, for the following missions:

Shimotsu Oil Refinery 28-29 July 1945

Mitsubishi Oil refinery 1-2 August 1945

Nippon Oil Refinery 6 September 1945

Nippon Oil Co. Kudamtsu Plant 8-15-1945 -
(*I Believe this was the last bombing mission of WWII)

Nippon Oil Refinery at Amagaski 19 July and 9 August 1945 -
(*Day the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki )

Utsube River Oil Refinery 26 June 1945

Maruzen Oil Refinery 7 July 1945

These before and after pictures also show the intimate accuracy of high altitude B-29 bombing at this stage of the war.
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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 12 May 2004 18:15

heavy bombing = less mobility = less fuel used = less fuel needed.


Well yes to a degree. However if you say destroy mobility through bombing, then what is left intact has to do twice the workload, and thus use up the same amount of resource!

Andy H

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 13 May 2004 17:17

Oh my God! :lol: So the Japanese, like the Italians in Libya, were sitting on top of billions of tons of oil, and didn't know it!

And if true, those greedy American oilmen from Standard Oil may have effectively started the Pacific war by not telling the Japs about their discovery! 8O

Windward wrote:
It's unfortunately for Japanese (but fortunately for we Chinese) that they didn't find Anda (now Daqing, locate in north Manchuria) oilfield in the 1930s, or the history might be changed. There are 5.7 billion tons of oil there, 2.2 billions could be mined by the technology of the 1940s. If they found there, then Japanese needn't declair war against America in 1941. It's said that engineers of Standard Oil found geologic structure of large oil field there in the 1920s, but kept it secret to Japanese in order to sell more oil to them. :wink:


regards

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Anwar bin Zapari
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Post by Anwar bin Zapari » 21 May 2004 10:42

The oilfields in Miri (near Brunei) was destroyed by the British in a scorched earth policy. So it does not come from there then.

As for the Seria oilfields, I'm not quite sure...

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Redbaron1908
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Post by Redbaron1908 » 10 Jun 2004 01:58

Hello,

Thank you all for the great deal of information provided. Did the Japanese at the end of the war also face a fiasco with htheir fuel, or could they sort of still function? Did they have to give priorities to certain missions and objectives due to fuel shortages?

Red

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