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The Role of North Korea in Northeast Asia Energy

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The Role of North Korea in Northeast
Asia Energy Relations
David Dusseault
Eurasia Energy Group
Aleksanteri Institute
11th December 2006
Some Basic Ideas
• N. Korea’s energy situation is
dire;
• Causes include common
regional constraints as well as
domestic economic strategy;
and
• NK is a crucial actor in regional
energy relations due to location
& potential knock on effects
derived from regime’s survival
strategy.
The Scope of the Issue
Energy Imbalance
Interdependency: Enabling and
Constraining Conditions
1. Physical Constraints: uneven resource distribution, finiteness of natural
resources, existence of energy sector infrastructure, geography, climate,
accessibility of resources;
2. Informational Constraints: elites do not possess full information regarding
their resources or how to fully maximise their benefits accrued from
natural resource wealth;
3. Financial Constraints: finite financial resources for investment and
resource exploitation, commodity prices, market size;
4. Actor-based Constraints: number of competing actors, how actors
perceive their interests and how they determine to develop their interests;
and
5. Institutional Constraints: ability of state institutions to flexibly determine
the rules of the game over time without marginalising actors or seeking
rent.
Regional Assessment
Constraint
Northeast Asia
Physical
Unique geological conditions; Lack of pipeline and other basic infrastructure; difficult
climatic conditions in Eastern Siberia, Yakutia, and Sakhalin;
Financial
High costs of new field development due to geological & climactic conditions; ill
developed financial sector in the country, could lead to high dependence on
international financial consortia; somewhat unclear investment climate for
attracting FDI
Informational
Compatibility of domestic know-how with demands encountered in exploiting the new
fields; quality information as commodity; high variation of information
concerning optimal regional energy development strategy; access to information
& level of communication amongst relevant actors.
Institutional
Unpredictable legal and institutional environment could lead to energy supplies being
dealt with on a bi-lateral as opposed to a multi-lateral regional basis. Existing
institution free environment allows for creativity in determining future
institutional regimes.
Actor-based
Economic logic partly intertwined with a traditional geopolitical approach in projects
like the ESPO pipeline as a result of the states’ role in the energy sector
development. IOCs and state backed energy companies share a partial, but not
common ideological basis for energy sector development projects. Unresolved
legal issues regarding the control over resources between federal & regional
authorities.
Conditions: North and South Korea
Factors
Physical
Enabling
Constraining
Strategic corridor for transit to
markets in the south
Distance from significant reserves;
North: Lack of necessary
infrastructure to supply for
demand
Informational
South: Long term strategy, strategic
reserves
Strategy still relies on the state as
major player in sector decisionmaking process, direction of
future development.
Financial
South: Possess significant financial
resources to support
international energy sector
projects; represents large
market making super projects
more attractive
Price dependency, market volatility,
level of demand
South: State energy sector
undergoing a process of
diversification
State as primary actor
South: Restructuring of institutional
rules of the game
North: Institutional framework??
Actors
Institutional
The Nuclear Issue in the Present
Energy Context
• Nuclear stand-off on the
peninsula is tied to regime
survival;
• NK’s regime survival
strategy has been directly
linked to external aid (food
and energy (KEDO));
•Energy can still form the
basis for a flexible long
term strategy to incorporate
NK back into the
international community.
Priorities & Strategies
US Priorities: Regime Change
•Economic Sanctions (Uni - & Multi-lateral)
•Military “Axis of Evil” (Sum zero)
?
NK Priorities: Regime Survival
•Nuclear Threat (Sum zero)
•FDI, financial credits, WB loans; (Bi & Multilateral)
•KEDO energy package, UNDP development
aid. (Bi-& Multi-lateral)
Regional Priorities: Catastrophic Regional Conflict
Avoidance
•FDI, financial credits, ROK Japan loans; (Bi &
Multi-lateral)
•Regional Development aid (Bi & Multi-lateral)
Conclusions
• Re-think of US sum zero regime change strategy;
• Development of mutually beneficial, long term plan to
incorporate NK into the international community;
• In the short term: resumption of HFO shipments and
incremental easing of economic sanctions in return for
negotiations over nuke issue;
•In the medium term: step by step programme for verifiable
dissolution of nuclear programme in return for increased
financial and technical assistance;
•In the long term: inclusion in regional based development
initiatives with further cuts to conventional forces on the
peninsula.
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