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Thread: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

  1. #1
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    Default Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    I am fishing around for information on the fuel avaialble to japan during 1942. Data for gross reserves and total intake for the year is common, but details on the monthly or quarterly production, broken down by location, is more difficult to find. Also distribution. I have seen some hints that difficulty in providing fuel to the Japanese navy at its forward bases such as Truk & Raubal influenced stratigic & operational decisions in 1942, but lack the information to understand these remarks.

    Thanks for any help here.

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberger View Post
    I am fishing around for information on the fuel avaialble to japan during 1942. Data for gross reserves and total intake for the year is common, but details on the monthly or quarterly production, broken down by location, is more difficult to find. Also distribution. I have seen some hints that difficulty in providing fuel to the Japanese navy at its forward bases such as Truk & Raubal influenced stratigic & operational decisions in 1942, but lack the information to understand these remarks.

    Thanks for any help here.
    I can't contribute anything on this, but I'd like to know the same information.

    A related aspect is that I recall that some of the NEI oil could be used pretty much out of the ground for ships, which would result in it not being held in long term storage and possibly not counted in stores.
    ..
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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberger View Post
    I am fishing around for information on the fuel avaialble to japan during 1942. Data for gross reserves and total intake for the year is common, but details on the monthly or quarterly production, broken down by location, is more difficult to find. Also distribution. I have seen some hints that difficulty in providing fuel to the Japanese navy at its forward bases such as Truk & Raubal influenced stratigic & operational decisions in 1942, but lack the information to understand these remarks.

    Thanks for any help here.
    I have been corresponding, without much success, with a number of people over the past few years trying to find detailed information on Japanese oil production and distribution particularly in the early years of the war. I have been informed, by some people who should know, that initial Japanese records of this sort of thing were not very detailed or complete, and that what records did exist were largely destroyed at the end of the war. The inferences I have seen of fuel constraints affecting operational considerations seem to suggest that, at least in 1942, lack of tankers rather than lack of production, was the significant factor, but without detailed records this can only be the subject of speculation.

    As for using unrefined crude oil as bunker fuel, my impression has been that this was not resorted to by the IJN until the latter part of the war when there was simply no other alternative. The reason for this is that impurities in the Indonesian and Borneo crude oil, particularly a very high sulfur content, quickly fouled ship's boiler tubes and required yard time for complete boiler tube cleaning after only minimal steaming time. In addition, volatile elements in the unrefined crude oil created a dangerous situation if the fuel tanks were partially emptied or were damaged and leaking.

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    I seem to recall Edward L. Beach making reference to both the IJN fuel situation and provision/availability of tankers in both "Run Silent, Run Deep" and "Submarine!".
    What his sources were, I'm unsure of now, though I think there were notes in the appendices.

    RS* you are correct about some of the N.E.I oil, it could be bunkered direct from the ground to ships' tanks, and used without processing, a fact which was lost on no naval power at the time.

    Warm, Kind, and Respectful Regards my friends, Uyraell.

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Uyraell View Post
    ....

    RS* you are correct about some of the N.E.I oil, it could be bunkered direct from the ground to ships' tanks, and used without processing, a fact which was lost on no naval power at the time.

    Warm, Kind, and Respectful Regards my friends, Uyraell.
    I wonder what the long term effect on ships engines this would have had? I can't imagine that unrefined petroleum product wouldn't have some sort of detriment, but then, perhaps longevity wasn't a consideration in the more desperate latter part of the War for the IJN...



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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I wonder what the long term effect on ships engines this would have had? I can't imagine that unrefined petroleum product wouldn't have some sort of detriment, but then, perhaps longevity wasn't a consideration in the more desperate latter part of the War for the IJN...
    As I posted earlier in this thread, burning unrefined oil in ship's boiler had a serious negative effect on the boiler tubes (not the engines). The high sulfur content of Indonesian and Borneo crude oil fouled the tubes and cut their efficiency by more than half after only a few hours steaming. This would cut the ship's speed in proportion, and meant that it would be necessary for the vessel to enter a repair yard for a thorough boiler cleaning and overhaul after only a short period of burning unrefined crude oil.

    Moreover, the volatile elements in unrefined crude oil created dangerously explosive fumes, and it is thought that the use of unrefined oil and fumes from that source may have been a contributing factor in the loss of the Taiho during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June, 1944.

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    As I posted earlier in this thread, burning unrefined oil in ship's boiler had a serious negative effect on the boiler tubes (not the engines).
    Missed that! Three hours of sleep will do that to one....

    The high sulfur content of Indonesian and Borneo crude oil fouled the tubes and cut their efficiency by more than half after only a few hours steaming. This would cut the ship's speed in proportion, and meant that it would be necessary for the vessel to enter a repair yard for a thorough boiler cleaning and overhaul after only a short period of burning unrefined crude oil.

    Moreover, the volatile elements in unrefined crude oil created dangerously explosive fumes, and it is thought that the use of unrefined oil and fumes from that source may have been a contributing factor in the loss of the Taiho during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June, 1944.
    Interesting. Whether high sulfur content or high paraffin content, it's not a great idea to use unrefined product in anything, and shows the lengths of desperation the Japanese resorted too...



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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Hi.

    There is a nice series of reports from the post-war Naval Technical Mission to Japan on IJN fuels and lubricants researches at

    http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/prima...USNTMJ_toc.htm

    Maybe it can give at least some answers.

    Yours

    tom!

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by tom! View Post
    Hi.

    There is a nice series of reports from the post-war Naval Technical Mission to Japan on IJN fuels and lubricants researches at

    http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/prima...USNTMJ_toc.htm

    Maybe it can give at least some answers.

    Yours

    tom!
    Thanks for that link.

    It's a goldmine of information on so many more topics than just the oil issue. I wasn't aware of it previously.
    ..
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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Thanks for that link.

    It's a goldmine of information on so many more topics than just the oil issue. I wasn't aware of it previously.
    It certainly is a gold mine of information. The reports on the Yamato-class main battery guns, Japanese electronics production, Japanese ship boilers, and other technical issues make for interesting reading. Many of the reports are highly technical and way above my head, but even reading about IJN warship paint and deck coverings gives some insight into problems encountered by the IJN.

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    I understand some of the oil brought forth from Balikpapan was so rich and 'refined' as-is that it could be used to fuel ships without any more refineing.

    Deaf
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    I understand some of the oil brought forth from Balikpapan was so rich and 'refined' as-is that it could be used to fuel ships without any more refineing.

    Deaf
    The oil fields at Balikpapan, Miri, and Brunei, all on the island of Borneo, plus those on the island of Tarakan, a small island close to Borneo, all produce "sweet crude" that may be burned in ship's boilers as bunker fuel. But all of these fields produce oil that is also high in sulfur content which damages the boiler tubes. This damage requires frequent boiler tube cleaning or replacement.

    My father-in-law, now deceased, was a production engineer at the Miri field when the Japanese invaded in 1941. He told me that in 1941, there was only one small refinery on the entire island of Borneo and that was at Balikpapan. The dutch destroyed the wells and badly damaged the refinery when the Japanese attacked despite being warned that reprisals would be the consequence. As at Tarakan, the Japanese murdered all the surviving Dutch inhabitants, including dozens of women and children.

    The Japanese subsequently repaired the refinery and put it back into production. It was bombed by the Allies in 1944, but continued to produce at a reduced rate. After the war the refinery was updated and enlarged and still is in operation today. But oddly enough, it was not designed to refine the oil produced by the wells at Balikpapan and that oil is now being exported in it's crude form.

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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Worth a look for the inert gas differences between US and Japanese aircraft carriers in WWII. See second paragraph in 2 No Reaction for 30 Years http://www.c4tx.org/ctx/pub/igs.pdf
    ..
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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    ....But oddly enough, it was not designed to refine the oil produced by the wells at Balikpapan and that oil is now being exported in it's crude form.
    I wouldn't say that that's odd. There are numerous purposes product can be used for and plenty of refineries at the end of the pipeline, but gradually declining sources in which to get product from...

    *Actually, they do refine the oil there as well as export unrefined crude (I assume). According to Wiki, they're even producing highly refined oils that could be referred to as hydrocracked "synthetics" (Group III motor oils for instance) in North America along with creating high grade lubricants from various waxes once discarded as waste.
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 12-19-2010 at 08:28 AM. Reason: *correction



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    Default Re: Japan's Fuel Supply 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    ....*Actually, they do refine the oil there as well as export unrefined crude (I assume). According to Wiki, they're even producing highly refined oils that could be referred to as hydrocracked "synthetics" (Group III motor oils for instance) in North America along with creating high grade lubricants from various waxes once discarded as waste.
    They do now, but didn't when the refinery was first upgraded which was what I was referring to.

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