Cost Of The Synthetic Fuel Plants?

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
General91
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Cost Of The Synthetic Fuel Plants?

Post by General91 » 21 Jun 2016 22:47

Good evening everyone,

I have spent several days trying to find the cost of Germany's various synthetic fuel plants, whether it is in amount of currency (dollars or RM) or amount of resources committed to construction (tons of steel for example). Searching the Internet and various other websites have not provided any answers. Would anyone on here happen to know?

I have found various forums, articles, and wiki pages discussing oil output but not the cost to get those facilities on-line. I also understand that there were 2-3 different types of facilities (perhaps 4?), producing different qualities and quantities of gas, diesel, rubber, aviation fuel, oil lubricants, fuel oil, tar, etc. How much did it cost, either in currency, manpower, or resources (preferably all 3 of these), to bring one on-line?

Like others, I have research various what if scenarios like building more U-Boats instead of Scharnhorst, or more BF-109s or Panzer IVs (I calculated canceling all surface ship production starting with Admiral Graf Spee and Nurnberg freed 301,314.4 short tons of material), but I have not been able to realistically answer Germany's fuel problem. Would the 50,000 tons of material and 197 million RM to build Bismarck equal 4, 8, or 15 synthetic fuel plants perhaps? Or maybe just 1-2? That is what I am trying to figure out. Once I have an idea of the cost of a synthetic fuel plant, I can calculate the amount of investment which can be made into building additional ones, which would be followed by an increases in production based on the numbers known from the existing plants.

Researching this subject has been highly interesting, not only of the output but also the science behind the fuel plants. It's rather impressive what was achieved. My only disappointment has been not finding out the cost of such facilities. I hope someone on here can help, or recommend a place to research. Thanks!

General91
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Re: Cost Of The Synthetic Fuel Plants?

Post by General91 » 22 Jun 2016 02:01

So I have been spending the last couple hours searching old posts from the forum, and i have found a few different posts from 2010-2012 time frames that answered part of my questions, but raised others. In terms of labor costs, I found a post saying about 85,000 people were needed to build a plant. This seems reasonable to me. For cost, i saw one post say 250,000 RM per plant (which seems absurdly low), to another post saying it cost around 190-250 million RM per plant (which seems more accurate but still high). In terms of material, I saw a post saying 666,000 tons of steel... this seems outrageously too high.

Anyone have a number to verify the amount of material invested into a plant?

Any numbers to verify/speak to the labor or financial investments I stated?

Anyone have numbers for each of the different types of synthetic plants?

Thanks everyone

Paul Lakowski
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Re: Cost Of The Synthetic Fuel Plants?

Post by Paul Lakowski » 22 Jun 2016 03:26

This approach seems flawed since the limiting factors on the various weapons were different. Ship building industry can be shifted from type to type [BB = UB], but only with the appropriate bottle necks. However I don't think you can just shift from warship industries to tank production industry . Study the USSBS since it was their job to do this type of comparative studies.

For example a big part of tank production expansion in 1942-43 had to do with switching "1/2 track" production lines to tank or tank engines etc. But just as important was the shift to fixed price multi year contracts , were subcontracting and final assembly methods were used. Hitler forbade such contracting prior to may 1941 since he firmly believed it was not needed since the war would be over by the time such industries got going.

GregSingh
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Re: Cost Of The Synthetic Fuel Plants?

Post by GregSingh » 22 Jun 2016 05:11

That link was already mentioned in earlier post. http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/
Go to Government Reports/Ministry of Fuel and Power/Report on the Petroleum and Synthetic Oil Industry of Germany
One of the best reports I've seen, covering methods and costs.

Capital cost of Hydrierwerk Scholven AG was 130,500,000 RM, but the same for nearby Gelsenberg-Benzin-AG (Nordstern) was 208,000,000 RM. Latter one had near double capacity.
If we become increasingly humble about how little we know, we may be more eager to search.

General91
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Re: Cost Of The Synthetic Fuel Plants?

Post by General91 » 22 Jun 2016 21:54

Paul Lakowski wrote:This approach seems flawed since the limiting factors on the various weapons were different. Ship building industry can be shifted from type to type [BB = UB], but only with the appropriate bottle necks. However I don't think you can just shift from warship industries to tank production industry . Study the USSBS since it was their job to do this type of comparative studies.

For example a big part of tank production expansion in 1942-43 had to do with switching "1/2 track" production lines to tank or tank engines etc. But just as important was the shift to fixed price multi year contracts , were subcontracting and final assembly methods were used. Hitler forbade such contracting prior to may 1941 since he firmly believed it was not needed since the war would be over by the time such industries got going.
GregSingh wrote:That link was already mentioned in earlier post. http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/
Go to Government Reports/Ministry of Fuel and Power/Report on the Petroleum and Synthetic Oil Industry of Germany
One of the best reports I've seen, covering methods and costs.

Capital cost of Hydrierwerk Scholven AG was 130,500,000 RM, but the same for nearby Gelsenberg-Benzin-AG (Nordstern) was 208,000,000 RM. Latter one had near double capacity.
Excellent suggestions both of you, thank you.

General91
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Location: America

Re: Cost Of The Synthetic Fuel Plants?

Post by General91 » 11 Jul 2016 05:28

GregSingh wrote:That link was already mentioned in earlier post. http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/
Go to Government Reports/Ministry of Fuel and Power/Report on the Petroleum and Synthetic Oil Industry of Germany
One of the best reports I've seen, covering methods and costs.

Capital cost of Hydrierwerk Scholven AG was 130,500,000 RM, but the same for nearby Gelsenberg-Benzin-AG (Nordstern) was 208,000,000 RM. Latter one had near double capacity.
Thanks again GregSingh for that link. I have spent a lot of time looking it over, and I have been enjoying reading through the site considerably. The documents available on that website are impressive. I would highly recommend it to others as well if you are looking to expand your knowledge on this and other subjects.

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