The War on oil (II) : the booster of the rise of petroleum energy

2022-06-16 0 By

In the late 19th century, a set of British navy statistics better illustrated the advantage of oil over coal: coal-fired steam engines took four to nine hours to reach maximum speed, while gasoline internal combustion engines took five minutes;For a ship of the same tonnage, 500 men work five days, but only 12 men work 12 hours to fill up;To get the same amount of power, a oil-fired engine takes only a third of the work and consumes only a quarter of the coal by weight.Combined, if the fleet is powered by oil, the resupply radius is four times that of a fleet powered by coal.Therefore, after the end of The First World War, countries began to oil centered revolution in Military Affairs.Forty percent of the British Navy was already using oil as fuel.In addition, the British army was equipped with 105,000 trucks and 41,000 aircraft;Before the outbreak of the war in 1914, France had 110 trucks, 60 tractors and 132 airplanes, but in 1918, there were 70,000 trucks and 12,000 airplanes.By the end of the war, America, Britain and France were consuming an average of 12,000 barrels of oil a day on the Western front.”If oil is not delivered in time, our army will be immediately paralyzed, which will force us to reconcile on unfavourable terms to the Allies,” French General Foch told Prime Minister Clemenceau in 1917.For oil, World War I was a booster rocket, catapulting it directly into the energy throne.After the end of World War I, oil became the fundamental factor determining the technical level of the military, which was related to the survival of a country.The development of the military industry further made oil the king of the industrial system.War is the destroyer of the industrial system, but if it happens at the “right” time, it will also be the best “coordinator” of industrial upgrading.In peacetime, technological upgrading often faces the problem of destroying old industries, and war is just the most direct means to solve this problem.The same was true of the Soviet Union.Senior Bolshevik leaders were keenly aware of the problem.After the end of the civil war, Russia began to promote the post-war reconstruction of the country from 1921.At that time, Lenin repeatedly stressed the importance of oil in the new industrial system.Mentioned in his speech at the meeting: “of all kinds of energy in Russia, oil occupies a special advantage, it is decided by its development and transportation convenience, the development of oil began to replace the development of the coal, many economists believe that in the era before we arrived at the power of the transition period will be the oil era.””The contention of coal, oil,” the hidden behind the thought in the Soviet union issued a plan, oil accounts for only 10% ~ 11%, far lower than the proportion of coal, the plan is Russia’s industrial system of long-term planning for the future, including the proportion of oil and Lenin obviously is not the same as before, in the 20th century, 20 times, coal to oil generation has become the trend of The Times,Such a development plan is already seriously out of step with The Times.The fundamental reason is that the former Soviet Union led the economic operation directly with the state administrative power.Compared with the free market economy of western countries, the advantages of this model are obvious. The so-called market regulation, to put it bluntly, is a “turning back” mode of “hitting the south wall”, which will inevitably lead to the waste of resources. The Soviet model at that time can avoid this problem.In the area of distribution, the Soviet model protected the rights of grassroots workers to the greatest extent, which is why the international Communist movement continued to attack western countries until the 1970s;In terms of development planning, the Soviet model is more suitable for long-term planning, because the economy is mainly run by administrative orders, rather than short-term book revenue, and many investments with great potential but not visible in the short term need to be promoted by this model.At that time, the Soviet Union had to face a very practical problem: the development of the oil industry will inevitably compress the coal industry, which will affect the interests of the coal industry employees. In 1923, during the most turbulent years of the Soviet regime, coal miners of all walks of life went on strike the most.That year, there were 155 strikes a year, involving 77,189 people.The saying “the crying child will be fed” applies everywhere.In addition, many cpSU cadres were also leaders of the coal miners during the revolution – proportionally, since coal miners were the second largest number.Of course, there are many officials from here.The leaders all came from the coal industry, ahead of the oil industry;If the coal industry’s share had declined, it would have meant that a group of leading cadres and their cronies might have lost real power.Under such a power structure, the top leaders of the Soviet Union during the Stalin era chose to make Stalhanov, who was born in the coal industry, an icon of industrial construction at that time.There were far fewer workers in the Soviet oil industry than in the coal industry, and apart from the problem of size, oil extraction did not require as many people.The cost of extracting oil in the Soviet Union was often a quarter of that of coal, and the oilfields they worked on were located in Moscow’s Caucasus region, so their influence on the communist hierarchy was obvious.Even Lenin and Stalin had to compromise.Stalin became supreme leader of the Soviet Union after Lenin’s death in 1924.Under Stalin, the Soviet Union accelerated industrialization and developed new development plans.Like Lenin, Stalin had a clear vision of the energy landscape of the future.Stalin emphasized: “Whoever has the advantage in the oil industry will take the initiative in the future war.”However, progress towards replacing coal with oil was still slow – even Stalin could not stamp out the bureaucracy of communist cadres.On the one hand, the Soviet oil industry was as politically squeezed as ever by the coal industry;On the other hand, the oil industry has its own “people” problem.Back then, their usual response was to find an unpleasant person in the department who excluded everyone, label him a saboteur and put all the blame on that person.So every once in a while, a bunch of “disrupters” show up.They face exile or even execution during the purges.In this trend, the oil industry was also inevitable, which caused the Soviet oil industry to lose a large number of technicians and engineers during this period — people who often did not have much political voice.The “people” problem affects the oil industry much more than that.At that time, the real mature oil producing areas of the Soviet Union were mainly Baku and Gruzny fields.In an effort to inflate the numbers as much as possible, the authorities raided the two fields – extracting only the easiest layers for the shortest time, and once exhausted, the Wells were no longer being exploited.Further development, but immediately change position for the next round of mining.By 1937, coal still accounted for 47.5%, petroleum only 16.1%, and peat and timber accounted for the rest.The situation eventually infuriated Stalin, and almost all of the oil industry’s leading cadres were caught in the same pot — all arrested.But reality cannot be changed.”Oil should give up its place.It was no longer the main source of energy for the Soviet Union.In total energy demand, oil demand will also decline., the proportion of coal energy in the form of the Soviet union, and the decreased, nearly half of the energy consumption is done by coal, and other major industrial countries are vigorously promoting their own oil industry, and on the basis of the oil industry to establish a new system of industrial, even like the UK and Germany itself does not produce oil, also do not hesitate to improve its own defense and security costs,Spare no effort to promote “oil substitution”.At this point, the entire Industrial system of the Soviet Union was in reverse gear.World War II “getting the Soviet oil industry was what World War II really got Stalin out of the energy dilemma.The “kerosene war” won a great victory, but Stalin did not abandon the established policy.With a strong push from Stalin, the oil exploration sector had been searching for new fields in the heart of the Soviet Union, hoping to increase oil production and boost Soviet energy.Structural changes.At that time, the team set up exploration areas in the Volga and Ural river basins.At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, it was finally approved to build a new oil base between the Volga river and the Ural River — the second Baku.Back then, exploration and development of new fields proceeded at a leisurely pace, despite interest group obstruction and uncooperation.To express their high hopes for the new fields, communist party leaders called the new fields in the Volga-Urals Baku II — the 700, 000 square kilometers of oil that would eventually be explored there.Of course, prospects are one thing and reality another.By 1940, Baku II had discovered only a dozen small oilfields, producing only 18 million tons, or 5.8 percent, and still supplied 71.4 percent of Soviet oil.On the one hand, the Volga-Urals region is still in its infancy;On the other hand, although the oil reserves here are large — 3.2 zhangziyi oilfield was discovered in 1937.The main oil is buried in deep Devonian strata – Baku oil is mainly in shallow Carboniferous strata, where the oil is high in mass density, viscosity and sulfur content.Given the cost, the short-term benefits were not significant, so it was clearly impossible to prioritize the development of Baku II given the lack of funds available at the time.In the end, it was Hitler who really solved the problem.On June 22, 1941, the Soviet-German war broke out.Azerbaijan was briefly occupied by Germany in 1942 as German forces moved south.Therefore, the Soviet Union had to adopt the strategy of building cities and clearing fields.All equipment was transferred to the Volga-Urals, and all facilities in the Baku oil region were bombed prior to the evacuation to prevent the Germans from exploiting its oil resources, which only greatly strengthened the power of the first two Baku.During wartime, when resources were at their most scarce, Soviet engineers continued to conduct exploration and mining operations here.In 1944, mukhanov ii Baku was discovered with 220 million tons of reserves.By 1945, new oil production was 52% higher than in 1942.In addition, the war settled the Soviet union’s oft-cited “kerosene war” at one stroke.From the material point of view, the Soviet Union was able to win the Great Patriotic War, in addition to the strategic depth provided by its vast territory, but also depended on its overwhelming advantage over the Germans in resources, especially oil resources.In this way, the war completely restructured the Soviet energy industry, and the oil industry began to really rise in the Soviet Union.