How Much Fuel Does the DPRK Have?

From Yonhap:

According to an analysis by Peter Hayes, professor at Nautilus Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, North Korea would need to double its imports and production to sustain combat.  “Based on our estimates of fuel use during exercises, fuel use by DPRK military for 30 days of full-time combat would be up to 200,000 tonnes,” the study said.

The fuel use figure is based on a wartime scenario in which 50 percent of ground force equipment would be inoperable by the end of 30 days, aircraft cease operations in 24 hours, and 90 percent of naval forces cease operation in five days.

The study predicted it would take four more months to restock military fuels given North Korea’s current supply rate, either by bringing in fuel stored in rear areas or from refining new fuel and then moving it into combat zones.

Even if all the available refineries operate at 100 percent capacity and all supplies are diverted solely to the military, it would still take two months or longer to restock, Hayes said.

North Korea’s military accounted for 8 percent of the country’s total energy demand in 2000, up from 4.2 percent in 1990. In terms of the types of energy used by the military, 66 percent was coal, 37 percent was oil products, and 8 percent was electricity.

In 1990, the military used 17.1 percent of the country’s total refined oil products, 3.9 percent of the coal and 8.1 percent of the electricity.

The study reaffirms the North’s economy is stagnating from an energy shortage, compounded by a drop in oil imports, a decline in coal exports, the flooding of key coal mines and damage to major hydro facilities.

There should be international assistance to stimulate and sustain North Korea’s energy sector and rehabilitate its decaying power grid, estimated to cost between US$5.5 billion and $7.5 billion, according to the study.

Progress can also be made by reducing vast waste of supplied energy, caused by equipment dating as far back as the 1940s and less than 50-percent-efficient coal-fired boilers, Hayes said.


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