Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Forces facing Russia

The hungry Dragon - China
Russian Oil Fields -- Up for Grabs if Russia is not careful

The government of Russia should stop making trouble for the US in Iran and start thinking about their open southern flank to China. Once China sucks up all the oil
in the Caspian region they will turn their eys to the Russian Oil Fields.

Turkey maybe holding their hand out but could get it bitten off by China.
Chinese mobile missiles
Wed, Jun 09, 2010

ISTANBUL – Iran warned Russia yesterday against siding with Tehran’s enemies in supporting fresh UN sanctions over its nuclear dispute with the West.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s latest admonishment of Moscow, until recently an ally, came a day before the UN security council could vote to impose a fourth round of sanctions, which Russia is expected to support.

“There is no big problem, but they must be careful not to be on the side of the enemies of the Iranian people,” Mr Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Istanbul, where he was attending a summit along with Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.

Group Armies
The main combat power of the PLA ground forces is found in 18 group armies, which are corps-sized combined arms units with gross manpower ranging from 45,000 to 60,000 personnel. The composition of group armies varies according to their location, mission, and readiness level, but generally include 2~5 combat divisions or brigades (infantry and armour), as well as a number of combat support and combat service support units. Some group armies have also been assigned with helicopter and special forces units. The largest tactical formation of the ground forces, the group army is an “army-level” organisation in the PLA’s administrative hierarchy, normally headed by a major general.

Currently, the Beijing, Shenyang, Jinan, and Nanjing military regions each has three group armies, and Lanzhou, Guangzhou, and Chengdu military regions each has two group armies. While some group armies are tasked with the defence of a specific geographic region, others are intended for deployment anywhere within the country whenever required. Some divisions within certain group armies are designated ‘rapid reaction units’, ready for deployment within 24 hours without requiring any train-up or reserve augmentation.

Traditionally, China was regarded as largely a land power with only very limited naval forces. During the Cold War-era, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was mainly tasked with the defence of China’s coast against amphibious assaults from the U.S. or Soviet Union. Since the late 1980s, China has been seeking to develop a ‘blue water’ navy force capable of operating in the regions beyond its offshore waters. The modernisation of the PLAN over the past decade has been driven by two factors, the possibility of a military conflict with Taiwan over the island’s declaration of independence, and more recently, the growing needs to protect China’s sea lines of communications (SLOC) in order to secure the country’s global network of energy resources and trading activities.

The 225,000-man PLAN is organised into three fleets: North Sea, East Sea, and South Sea Fleets. Each fleet is composed of surface forces, submarine forces, naval aviation, and coastal defence forces. The South Sea Fleet also has two marine brigades, totalling some 10,000 men. In time of crisis, the PLAN can be supported by China’s merchant and fishing ship fleets. Main naval bases include Lushun, Huludao, Qingdao, Shanghai, Zhoushan, Wenzhou, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Zhanjiang, and Yulin.

China operates the largest submarine force among Asian countries, consisting of 8~10 nuclear-powered submarines and 50~60 diesel-electric submarines. The second-generation Type 093/Shang Class nuclear-powered attack submarine and Type 094/Jin Class nuclear-powered missile submarine have already entered service. Older Type 033/Romeo Class and Type 035/Ming Class diesel-electric submarines, which were based on the 1950s-era Soviet technology, are being gradually replaced by the newer indigenous Type 039/Song class and Russian-built Kilo Class. The even newer Yuan Class has also entered batch production.

Since 1990, the PLAN has received a total of 13 destroyers in six classes, as well as 20 brigades in four classes. Most of the Chinese-built surface combatants are equipped with the Chinese indigenous YJ-83 anti-ship cruise-missile (ASCM). Early vessels were armed with the HHQ-7 short-range air-defence missile system, while later variants are fitted with more capable medium- to long-range air-defence missile systems and vertical-launch system (VLS) modules. To complement these vessels, the PLAN is introducing the modernised Type 022/Houbei Class low-visibility missile boat to replace the ageing Houku class. Additionally, China is said to be considering building one or more aircraft carriers to further enhance its long-range power projection capability.

The amphibious warfare fleet of the PLAN has been expanding slowing since the early 1990s, with the introduction of 19 Type 072-II/Yuting and Type 072-III/Yuting-II class tank landing ships, as well as a Type 071 landing platform dock (LPD), which features a large helicopter flight deck and a floodable docking area for up to four aircraft cushion landing crafts. It was estimated that the current amphibious fleet of the PLAN is capable of transporting an army division, including its personnel and heavy equipment, to cross the Taiwan Strait. However, additional transport capacities can be achieved by employing container ships and roll-on/roll-off ships of the merchant fleet.

The PLAN has been following a three-step strategy in its modernisation process. In the first step, it aimed to develop a relatively modernised naval force that can operate within the first island chain, a series of islands that stretch from Japan to the north, to Taiwan, and Philippines to the south. In the second step, the PLAN aims to develop a regional naval force that can operate beyond the first island chain to reach the second island chain, which includes Guam, Indonesia, and Australia. In the third-stage, the PLAN will develop a global naval force by the mid twenty-first century.

Dragon's Fire: The PLA's 2nd Artillery Corps

China oil flow up on new Kazakh pipe
China secured access to vast oil deposits in western Kazakhstan today after the energy-rich Central Asian nation said it had completed the expansion of a major oil pipeline to its eastern neighbour.

News wires 01 July 2009
A Kazakh company in charge of the project said the first test shipment of oil had been successfully completed through the newly built Kenkiyak-Kumkol pipeline.

"The implementation of this project will have tremendous influence on the whole oil and gas industry, providing new opportunities for oil exports," Reuters quoted KazStroyService as saying in a statement.

The new link, which starts near the Kenkiyak field operated by China's CNPC, gives China better access to Kazakhstan's oil provinces in the west and follows Beijing's intensified efforts to boost energy supplies from Central Asia.

The first phase of the pipeline, between central Kazakhstan and China's western Xinjiang region, was completed in 2006.

The latest link expands this pipeline to Caspian Sea oil fields.
Chinese oil companies such as CNPC own stakes in several Kazakh oil producers, including CNPC-AktobeMunaiGaz, the operator of Kenkiyak and Zhanazhol fields, and PetroKazakhstan, which operates the Kumkol group of fields.

Kazakhstan, hit hard by the global economic crisis, has stepped up contacts with China for fresh investment. Beijing further strengthened its foothold in the former Soviet republic in April after it agreed to lend Kazakhstan $10 billion in a "loan-for-oil" deal during Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit.

As part of the deal, CNPC bought a stake in MangistauMunaigas, a company whose fields are also close to the starting point of the extended pipeline. Kazakhstan and China agreed to build the 3000 kilometre pipeline in 1997 and have said they would later double the capacity of the combined pipeline from the current 10 million tonnes a year.

Kazakhstan, which produced 71 million tonnes of oil last year, plans to double output within the next decade and seeks to diversify its exports as well as sources of investment in the industry dominated by Western oil majors. China is also building a pipeline to import up to 40 billion cubic metres of Central Asian gas a year.

The link originates in Turkmenistan and goes through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Armen Manvelyan
Kazakhstan is the country number one by its oil reserves in the Pre-Caspian region. According to some information, 2/3 of the Caspian Sea oil is concentrated in the very coastal regions of Kazakhstan. That’s why the collapse of the Soviet Union was soon followed by the struggle for the control over the oil sector of Kazakhstan. If the participants of the first stage of the struggle were Russia and the US, than China joined them in the second stage.

The Kazakh factor: After continuous negotiations and under the conditions of the US political inactivity, the Russian people managed to persuade the Kazaks to construct a new oil pipeline from the oil-rich Tengiz to Novorossisk. The Russian party made such a decision after long hesitations. Before that the official Russia had turned to different steps to reduce the extent of the oil supplied from Kazakhstan. The second country of the former Soviet Union with its oil reserves after Russia had serious transportation problems: there was a net of pipelines of 6000 kilometers length connecting Kazakhstan with the Russian city Samara. Atyrau-Samara oil pipeline was working still at the Soviet period, connected Kazakhstan with the Russian Samara and continued its way to Europe through the oil pipeline of “Drudzba.” As a matter of fact it was the only route the countries could supply the international market with their oil.

The official Astana was looking for an alternative to Russian route. The entry of the American oil companies into the oil sector of Kazakhstan was not welcomed. In 1993 the president N. Nazarbaev signed a contract with the president of Chevron oil company K Derry in Alma-Ata to found the biggest joint oil company on the territory of CIS. For the oilfield exploitation was founded the company “TengizChevroil” the main shareholders of which, besides Chevron became “KazakhOil”, Mobil, “Lukarkon” and “Lukoil” owing 5% of shares1. In Russia this contract was called the blow over their own interests. The number of oil pipelines connecting Kazakhstan with Samara was reduced. To overcome the Russian obstacle Chevron began pumping a part of the oil to Aktau and Turkmenbashi ports, and from there to Baku. From Azerbaijan the oil cisterns were sent to the oil storage in Batumi port by railway. Due to this complicated scheme Chevron managed to pump the Kazakh oil to the world market. In 1997 for about 3.7 million tones of Kazakh oil was pumped to the Black Sea ports of Georgia by the same route, more than to Samara. Under those conditions Kazakhstan and Russia were actively negotiation on Tengiz—Novorossiysk oil pipeline construction. The contract between the two countries (by the participation of the Omani Sultan) was concluded on July 17, 1992; however, it went into effect only in 1996. It was also furthered by the fact that the construction of the oil pipeline (Tengiz—Novorossiysk) began still at the Soviet period and was half ready. In April 1996 a corresponding contract was concluded between the two parties – Russia and Kazakhstan2. The oil pipeline with the length of 1600 kilometers and costing $2 billion was to pump for about 500.000 barrels of oil per day to the oil storage situated in the Russian sector of the Black Sea coast of Novorossiysk. To finish the pipeline construction Russia founded a new consortium which was to finance and built up the pipeline. The official Moscow was in a hurry to strengthen its positions in the Caspian Sea coast. The oil pipeline was to fortify Russia’s domination in the region and, in particular, in the Caspian Basin. By the initiative of official Moscow and with the participation of Kazakhstan and Oman was founded the Caspian pipeline consortium (CPC). Besides the three countries, other oil companies also participated in CPC. On April 27, 1996 in Moscow was signed a contract on the oil pipeline construction by the participation of B. Yelzin and N. Nazarbaev. Russia was holding the majority of shares3. In the newly founded consortium Russia had 24% of shares, Kazakhstan – 19%, the Omani Sultanate – 7%. The American oil giant Chevron got 15% of shares, the Russian “Lukoil”- 12.5%, 7.5 by 7.5% were concentrated in the hands of American Mobil and “RosOil,” 2 by 2% got the Italian Agip Spa and British Gaz, 1.75 by 1.75 to the American Oryx and Kazakh Munaigaz.

In August 2007 the construction of the oil pipeline was over and the oil began flowing to Novorossiysk. However, the official opening ceremony was held later – on November 27, 2001. The next day the first tanker loaded by Kazakh oil of Tengiz mark left Novorossiysk. At first for about 8 million tones of oil per year was flowing through the oil pipeline; however, later on the extent was increased up till 28 million. At that period for about 60 million tones of oil per year was exported to Kazakhstan, 28 million out of which was exported to Novorossiysk and 15 million – Samara. In other words, the exploitation of the oil pipeline increased Kazakhstan’s economic dependence on the Russian pipelines.

Thus, by mid 1990s there was a well-shaped political opinion in Moscow that the US was activating its influence in the region. Under the conditions of the new political realities on July 21, 1994 the Russian president Boris Yelzin signed a document for the protection of the interests of the Russian Federation in the Caspian Sea Basin4 prepared by the foreign minister Andery Kozyrev and the National Security Service director Yevgeni Primakov, after which Russia made its oil policy more active, quickly undertaking the construction and restart of Baku-Novorossiysk and Tengiz-Novorossiysk oil pipelines. As a matter of fact, exploitation of these oil pipelines was unambiguously considered to be Russia’s victory in the region.

The Chinese course: China is also very much interested in the Caspian Sea rich with energy resources. And if in the first half of 1990s this country was unnoticeable, than in the second half the situation sharply changed. With its high rate of growth in economy China had excessive demand of energy carriers. Official Beijing even had to quit the supply of the export oil: the local crude oil was hardly enough for home consumption. That’s why China got interested in the Caspian Sea Basin and especially in Kazakhstan. China’s interest in Kazakh oil was also in the interests of Astana. The president Nursultan Nazarbaev was long desiring to separate the Kazakh oil to weaken its dependence on Russia. The west was supporting Kazakhstan’s president putting forward the idea of Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline construction. But the Chinese course was not included in the US regional plans. The first result of Kazakh-Chinese negotiations was produced in September 1997, when, during his official visit to Astana, the Chinese Prime Minister Lee Pen signed a contract on the Kazakh-Chinese oil pipeline construction. The 3200 kilometer-long oil pipeline with the capacity of 20 million tones and costing $3-3.5 billion was to begin in the Kazakh Atyrau and end in the Chinese town Alashankou. The Chinese party undertook the full financing of the project, but later on, when the oil prices considerably dropped, it was talked about inexpediency of this and other suchlike projects. However, in realization of both of the projects (Atyrau- Alashankou, Baku-Ceyhan oil pipelines) politics remained the priority: the parties financing the pipelines were attaching special importance to the political context of the issue, besides the economic one.

However, the further rise in oil prices favored the realization of the project. In June 2003 during the visit of the president of Chinese People’s Republic Khu Dzintau to Kazakhstan the Chinese national oil company signed a contract on Kazakh-China Atyrau- Alashankou oil pipeline construction with the Kazakh government. The contract supposed not only the oil-pipeline construction: China began making serious investments in the oil sector of Kazakhstan, which strengthened its position both in the Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin.

In spite of the efforts of Russia and the west, especially the US, to fail the oil pipeline construction, they didn’t manage. On May 2006 the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline was launched for the first time, but the official opening was held on December 15 of the same year5. In that way Kazakhstan built the first oil pipeline which was to make a detour of Russia to supply China with oil. It was the first oil pipeline built in the Caspian Sea Region countries detouring Russia. The second one, as it is known, is Baku-Ceyhan.

The construction of Kazakh-Chinese oil pipeline was of great importance for Kazakhstan. The country was entering an important and perspective market weakening its dependence on Russia, and, at last, was built an oil pipeline completely passing through its territory. For the oil pipeline exploitation was founded “Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline” company to be controlled by the state oil companies of China and Kazakhstan on equal terms6. The parties also negotiated about a gas pipeline construction.

One might say that the president of Kazakhstan partially managed to reduce his country’s dependence on Russian companies, however, the official Astana is still negotiating with other countries, including Iran and Azerbaijan, over oil transportation and other routes.

1Бутаев А., Каспий: зачем он Западу? www.caspiy.net/dir3/west/6.html
2R.Hrair Dokmejian & Hovann H. Simonian, Troubled Waters.The Geopolitics of The Caspian Region. New York, 2001, p. 36.
3Rosemarie Forsythe, The Politics of Oil in the Caucasus and Central Asia www.treemedia.com/cfrlibrary/library/background/forsythe.html
4Robert V. Barylski, «Russia, the West, and the Caspian Energy Hub», Middle East Journal, vol. 49, no. 2, Spring 1995.
5Ian MacWilliam, Kazakh-China oil pipeline opens, BBC News, Almaty.
6Dmitry Kosyrev, Kazakh-Chinese oil pipeline a new reality of global politics, RIA Novosti, 31/ 05/ 2006.


No comments: