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AH: Oil in South Vietnam... a different kind of oil shock

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  • AH: Oil in South Vietnam... a different kind of oil shock


    1969 A man in his thirties, dressed in a fine, conservative suit, fumes. "Shit. I'm still in Saigon" The Pan Am jet, his ride to cooler climes, delayed. He stuffs his ticket back into his pocket, and walks back to one of the few places that he knew had good working A/C: the Airport Bar, and a slight chance of meeting up with a cute stewardess, or local girl. He walks on in, and given the time, oddly empty. Wandering up to the bar, slides onto a stool, hails the bartender- 'Hey there, Huynh! Still here, flight's late. pour me a double.' Bartender strolls over, and pours Jim Beam. "bet you can't wait to get back- Big promotion for you." "Damn straight!. Got lucky by running that geologist, and getting the Brass Hats back in L.A. to believe his reports. Everyones going to be rich off this- even you: the Bar is going to be going gangbusters for you. Oilmen always spend more than GIs" Huynh grins. "Thats right, and I won't forget you or your cousin, otherwise I wouldn't have got my foot in the door to talk with Thieu. Unocals going to be doing big business off the South Coast. From the reports I got on the test wells we sank, I think there is as much oil offshore as there is in Iran or Kuwait. Thieu's in position to be as rich as King Faisal if he sticks with that deal giving us at Unocal full distribution rights for developing those oil fields for South Vietnam. I'm so damn happy- we are all going to be rich, that I don't mind that the 727 is Late. Pour me some more!" April 1970: Saigon, Hotel Rex, Penthouse "Greetings General. I trust your flight from Seoul was pleasant" "Very much so, as was the reception, General Ky. Quite a good effort with having the National Assembly ratifying the Unocal Development Plan.That will mean much for your country, and ours. I am heartened that President Thieu had contacted us" "Please - I am just the Vice President now. Things are changing quickly, with disarray in America over the matter in Cambodia and Laos. That Communist stooge, Sihanouk, is probably kissing Mao's boots right now to get aid for his rebels. We know Kissinger is trying to deal with Le Duc Tho, right now in Paris. I suspect his intent is not the best for the Republic of Vietnam, but as a sop to the rabble from the Universities, promises on leaving us. This oil gives us an option other than the one we are on: Our hope is this path can include the Republic of Korea. The President, and I, agree on this fully" "Now, your 20 year agreement with Unocal was that they get 100% distribution rights: seems you don't have much to work with." "Actually, no. besides the normal Fees and Taxes, there is a rider for providing that Oil for our military use, is not part of that distribution agreement. That Military use, allows us to resell up to 25% total production on the World Market. I feel that clause wasn't thought out by the Unocol team that we signed with last month, in the haste to get us to sign Of that 25%, we are willing to supply the ROK at below OPEC market prices, in return for Military aid, and Consumer Goods. I feel that with Korean Troops, we can keep the Communists under control in Cambodia. Lon Nol has already agreed, as we both feel that Nixon might not keep US Forces engaged: His Congress is giving him many problems. The number of US troops will only get smaller as times goes on with the 'Vietnamization' program. If we could get another ROK Division, it won't matter if American Ground Forces pull back, ROK and ARVN can hold the infiltration routes." "How soon till the oil platforms will be ready? Its been several months since the agreement was signed" "The Americans can work wonders when they choose. Several platforms are operational now. As we speak, Refineries are being built near Vung Tau. We are selling Crude now, and will be selling refined products in 3 months. We are hoping, as part of the agreement, to buy oiltankers, from Hyundai or Samsung, of course, to transport it." "I think that we are in agreement. The contract will be signed. More Troops will be a more difficult task, but still possible. It is to both of our countries advantage." Both men smile. late April 1970. The beach by Vung Tau A tanned GI strolls over to where some others were camped, with lawnchairs and what looks to be coleman coolers filled with ice and cans. "hey - looks to be way too much beer for just two to take care of, I bet you need help to get those brews secured." The man on the left drawled "Pull up a chair, son: My treat. I am very short, I've got new orders I'm waiting for the trip back to the States to get firmed up,and am enjoying myself mightly in the mean time" The second man snorted "Your beer? Damn, you jet jockeys take credit for everything. Just not modest like us quiet folk at 1st Air Cav. It's my damn beer,thank you very much, duly traded for by _myself_. I had to trade some VC flags and junk to some seebees to get this fine 'Grain Belt' beer. But come on over an drain a few, as I am not short, but my 3 day pass is nearly done with. so have a cold one" tossing a can over to the Newcomer. The newcomer laughed and grabbed the can "Well, name's Dan. I'm no master of jet planes or helicopter rider, but I drive a desk back in Saigon, and without my typewriter, forms and Carbon Paper, neither of you would be enjoying the Passes that allowed this fine day at the beach. Winning the War by the mighty MOS 70A10, Clerk." All three get to the serious business of emptying cans, and enjoying the scenery, while listing to a National Panasonic transistor radio. "So Dan, since you seem to be the ranking REMF present, whats the deal with that refinery down the coast? Wasn't there last time I pulled leave a few months back." said the burly one. "I think it a new Unocal plant, for those offshore platforms that been popping up" "Nope. Sorry Dan, close. Its a new high volume plant by a new compamy- National Petroeum of Vietnam. They are in cahoots with Unocal though" said the lanky pilot. "really?" "Yep,Checked into it for my Daddy, he's in the business back in Texas and was wondering about it. Unocal and them are cutting Shell, Esso and Caltex out,and bet that they will try to undercut contract prices. Shell and the others were refining the small amount of oil that vietnam was producing prior to that offshore discovery, and selling that gas to the Army and AirForce at a good profit. Besides, I wanted to know too, its those damn platforms that got my behind here in Vietnam" "No Shit. How so?" "I was a happy pilot back in Texas ANG, Flying the Duece. Anyhoo, some damnfool chinaman decided that the PRC needed to send recon flights over those new platforms, as they reach near out to the Spratlys, to see what was up. One thing led to another, and somebody at MACV got thier panties in a knot. the 147th FIS was just finishing up on thier tour, and then got new orders cut. F-102 to Return to Tan Son Nhut AFB, and fly Alerts, and escort anything flying with a Red Star painted on the side back to China that got too close. So instead of drinking beer in Texas, I drink it here. No Idea why they didn't just have the Navy do it. Plenty of F-4s on those carriers. But like a said, i'm a short timer now, as they are pulling the Dueces back out again, back to the States, Moving a Voodoo 2 seater unit in to take the place of the 147th" "That makes sense. Talked with a jarhead the other day, the Navy is having real busy time out there, those platforms also sit right in the path that the North uses to infiltrate boats&ships into the South. Heard there was trouble with the platforms getting shot at and stuff. Navy is spending a lot more time checking Junks out now. He even said that the platforms are armed- cannons, missiles, radar,all kinds of shit now. all unofficial& very hush hush. says they anchor a patrolboat nearby for cover. You hear anything on that, Dan?" " No, just some crazy talk that the Navy was using 'killer dolphins' to nail NVA frogmen out there. " "Now I know I been drinking too much. Dolphins? Hell, they drafted Flipper! Wondered why that show went off TV! Come on now boys, my pockets are full of MPC script and piasters, I'm sure you two can help me spend it, as its all monopoly money back in the States." "Sure thing, Tex, know just the place where the B-Girls are nice." "well, what you waiting for, Clerk Dan, we are waiting for your Orders- Lead the Way!" --------------------- Now our story so far. 1969 - large deposits of light offshore Oil discovered by a small Unocal research team from the Con Son Islands to the Spratlys, to the Paracel Islands. Moving quickly, Unocal signed a deal(very generous, due to Unocals' suits missing the importance of a side agreement on sales) with the Republic of Vietnam. This deal was good enough, that the companies currently doing business in the RVN were cut out of the picture by South Vietnam, thier pre- offshore discovery business looking small change. This sudden windfall soured relations between Unocal and the other Producers, making it difficult for unocal to go with its normal suppliers. Contacts between Vice President Ky and the South Koreans,& their growing heavy industry with companies like Hyundai and Samsung, made possible to being able to supply Unocal with the vast amounts of material to build the platforms and supporting infrastructure needed. This deal also put President Thieu in charge of the new company, National Petroleum of Vietnam, though this is not visible unless a close look is done at the companies structure. One would also notice that some ARVN Generals were resigning, to take over posts in the companies structure. Relations between President Thieu and Vice President Ky are improved to pre Tet'68 levels, as both Ky and Thieu see that they do need each other to succeed. Vietnamization in ongoing, accelerated by S. Korea's offer to add to the Free World Allies contingent by an additional Division. This allows additional US troop withdrawals, including parts of the troubled Americal Division to rotate back. For some in the US, however, find themselves & the Nat. Guard units they are in are sent over,unexpectedly activated. Many in South Vietnam notice the increased presence of the South Koreans, Most visible is the larger numbers of the Han Jin company transports moving oil&gas where Shell or Caltex once had. Others notice their new military presence in patroling the 'Iron Triangle' New Oil platforms were quickly raised in the South China Seas, unsurprisingly causing trouble with North Vietnam, and unexpectedly with Red China. South Vietnam claimed the areas where the platforms went up, flying the Flag of the Republic of Vietnam, and North Vietnam tried to disrupt operations on these platforms with small unit attacks by sea, and late Jan. 1970 by several Il-28 'Beagles' flying from Hanoi. After the bombing(which did little damage to the uncompleted platforms) USS Long Beach took down the attackers with long range 'Talos' SAMs, with F-8 Crusaders from USS Oriskany forcibly 'escorting' Chinese Tu-4 'Bull' recon planes away from the area afterwards. South Vietnam and USA claimed the platforms as RVN territory, each with its own 12 mile territorial water limit, enforced by the USN the new platforms were armed(and USN crewed) and had US Marines for security. Much acrimony followed in the UN. ARVN units had massed on the Cambodian border in March following the Coup by Lon Nol, and his failure to stop Communist infiltration and by his turning a blind eye to his Military ethnic cleansing of ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia, whether they were Communists or not. The sight of mutilated bodies of ethnic Vietnamese merchants& thier families floating down the Mekong River, filled ARVN troops with resolve that was seldom seen before. During a heated telephone exchange between Thieu and Lon Nol over the atrocities, Nol had a serious Stroke, and would spend the last two months of his life in a hospital bed. The following day, Pres. Thieu announces to the world that ARVN forces would advance to Phnom Phen to help acting Premier Prince Matak restore order. unannounced was President Nixon authorizing airstrikes to support the ARVN thrust to take the 'Parrots Beak' and secure highway Route 1 to Phnom Phen, along with AirMobile troops to assist. but no ground formations, as it was thought that with the ARVN Troops freed up by the Koreans, 45,000 men would be enough. However, shortly afterwards, the Nixon administration put Operation PROUD DEEP into effect in April 1970, the End of the Bombing Halt of the North, and rotated more modern USAF Air Defense assets in country should the North (or some whispers of China) decided to try more bombing of Southern targets. Airfields and SAM sites were targeted, and the exclusion zone reduced by the Chinese Border. The Bombings cut enough supplies to the NVA & VC to allow the ARVN forces to hold onto Route 1 From Peking, Prince Sihanouk rails against the Pro US government in Cambodia after the National Assembly requests aid from the US and other Free World Allies, and gets pledges of aid from other groups like Pathet Lao, Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge Tensions are rising all over Asia

  • #2
    Interesting, but it's one solid mass of text!

    Comment


    • #3
      "A different kind of Oil Shock"

      Trying again:

      Point Of Departure: One Million Years BC
      The Earth wobbles abit different on its axis vs. OTL, but returns to
      'normal' 30,000 years later.

      1969

      A man in his thirties, dressed in a fine, conservative suit, fumes.
      "Sh-t. I'm still in Saigon" The Pan Am jet, his ride to cooler
      climes, delayed. He stuffs his ticket back into his pocket, and
      walks back to one of the few places that he knew had good working
      A/C: the Airport Bar, and a slight chance of meeting up with a cute
      stewardess, or local girl.

      He walks on in, and given the time, oddly empty.
      Wandering up to the bar, slides onto a stool, hails
      the bartender- 'Hey there, Huynh! Still here, flight's late.
      pour me a double.'

      Bartender strolls over, and pours Jim Beam. "bet you can't wait
      to get back- Big promotion for you."

      "Damn straight!. Got lucky by running that geologist, and getting the
      Brass Hats back in L.A. to believe his reports. Everyones going
      to be rich off this- even you: the Bar is going to be going
      gangbusters for you. Oilmen always spend more than GIs"

      Huynh grins.

      "Thats right, and I won't forget you or your cousin, otherwise
      I wouldn't have got my foot in the door to talk with Thieu.
      Unocals going to be doing big business off the South Coast.
      From the reports I got on the test wells we sank, I think there
      is as much oil offshore as there is in Iran or Kuwait. Thieu's
      in position to be as rich as King Faisal if he sticks with
      that deal giving us at Unocal full distribution rights
      for developing those oil fields for South Vietnam.
      I'm so damn happy- we are all going to be rich, that I
      don't mind that the 727 is Late. Pour me some more!"

      April 1970: Saigon, Hotel Rex, Penthouse

      "Greetings General. I trust your flight from Seoul was pleasant"

      "Very much so, as was the reception, General Ky. Quite a good
      effort with having the National Assembly ratifying the Unocal
      Development Plan.That will mean much for your country, and ours.
      I am heartened that President Thieu had contacted us"

      "Please - I am just the Vice President now.
      Things are changing quickly, with disarray in America over
      the matter in Cambodia and Laos. That Communist stooge, Sihanouk,
      is probably kissing Mao's boots right now to get aid for his
      rebels. We know Kissinger is trying to deal with Le Duc Tho,
      right now in Paris.
      I suspect his intent is not the best for the Republic
      of Vietnam, but as a sop to the rabble from the
      Universities, promises on leaving us.

      This oil gives us an option other than the
      one we are on: Our hope is this path can include the
      Republic of Korea. The President, and I, agree on this
      fully"

      "Now, your 20 year agreement with Unocal was that they get
      100% distribution rights: seems you don't have much
      to work with."

      "Actually, no. besides the normal Fees and Taxes, there is
      a rider for providing that Oil for our military use, is not
      part of that distribution agreement. That Military use,
      allows us to resell up to 25% total production on the World
      Market. I feel that clause wasn't thought out by the
      Unocol team that we signed with last month, in the haste to
      get us to sign

      Of that 25%, we are willing to supply the ROK at below
      OPEC market prices, in return for Military aid, and Consumer
      Goods. I feel that with Korean Troops, we can keep
      the Communists under control in Cambodia. Lon Nol has already
      agreed, as we both feel that Nixon might not keep
      US Forces engaged: His Congress is giving him many problems.
      The number of US troops will only get smaller as times goes on
      with the 'Vietnamization' program.
      If we could get another ROK Division, it won't matter
      if American Ground Forces pull back, ROK and ARVN can
      hold the infiltration routes."

      "How soon till the oil platforms will be ready? Its been
      several months since the agreement was signed"

      "The Americans can work wonders when they choose. Several
      platforms are operational now. As we speak, Refineries
      are being built near Vung Tau. We are selling Crude now,
      and will be selling refined products in 3 months.

      We are hoping, as part of the agreement, to buy
      oiltankers, from Hyundai or Samsung, of course, to
      transport it."

      "I think that we are in agreement. The contract will
      be signed. More Troops will be a more difficult task,
      but still possible. It is to both of our countries advantage."

      Both men smile.

      late April 1970. The beach by Vung Tau

      A tanned GI strolls over to where some others were camped,
      with lawnchairs and what looks to be coleman coolers filled
      with ice and cans.

      "hey - looks to be way too much beer for just two to take care
      of, I bet you need help to get those brews secured."

      The man on the left drawled "Pull up a chair, son: My treat.
      I am very short, I've got new orders I'm waiting for the trip
      back to the States to get firmed up,and am enjoying myself
      mightly in the mean time"

      The second man snorted "Your beer? Damn, you jet jockeys
      take credit for everything. Just not modest like us quiet folk
      at 1st Air Cav. It's my damn beer,thank you very much,
      duly traded for by _myself_. I had to trade some VC flags and
      junk to some seebees to get this fine 'Grain Belt' beer.

      But come on over an drain a few, as I am not short, but my 3
      day pass is nearly done with. so have a cold one" tossing a
      can over to the Newcomer.

      The newcomer laughed and grabbed the can "Well, name's Dan.
      I'm no master of jet planes or helicopter rider, but I drive
      a desk back in Saigon, and without my typewriter,
      forms and Carbon Paper, neither of you would be enjoying
      the Passes that allowed this fine day at the beach.
      Winning the War by the mighty MOS 70A10, Clerk."

      All three get to the serious business of emptying cans, and enjoying
      the scenery, while listing to a National Panasonic transistor radio.

      "So Dan, since you seem to be the ranking REMF present,
      whats the deal with that refinery down the coast? Wasn't
      there last time I pulled leave a few months back." said
      the burly one.

      "I think it a new Unocal plant, for those offshore
      platforms that been popping up"

      "Nope. Sorry Dan, close. Its a new high volume plant
      by a new compamy- National Petroeum of Vietnam. They are
      in cahoots with Unocal though" said the lanky pilot.

      "really?"

      "Yep,Checked into it for my Daddy, he's in the business back
      in Texas and was wondering about it. Unocal and them are
      cutting Shell, Esso and Caltex out,and bet that they will
      try to undercut contract prices.
      Shell and the others were refining the small amount of
      oil that vietnam was producing prior to that offshore
      discovery, and selling that gas to the Army and AirForce
      at a good profit.
      Besides, I wanted to know too, its those damn
      platforms that got my behind here in Vietnam"

      "No Shit. How so?"

      "I was a happy pilot back in Texas ANG, Flying the Duece.
      Anyhoo, some damnfool chinaman decided that the PRC needed
      to send recon flights over those new platforms, as they reach
      near out to the Spratlys, to see what was up. One thing led
      to another, and somebody at MACV got thier panties in a knot.
      the 147th FIS was just finishing up on thier tour, and then
      got new orders cut. F-102 to Return to Tan Son Nhut AFB, and
      fly Alerts, and escort anything flying with a Red Star painted
      on the side back to China that got too close.

      So instead of drinking beer in Texas, I drink it here.

      No Idea why they didn't just have the Navy do it.
      Plenty of F-4s on those carriers.

      But like a said, i'm a short timer now, as they are pulling
      the Dueces back out again, back to the States, Moving a Voodoo
      2 seater unit in to take the place of the 147th"

      "That makes sense. Talked with a jarhead the other day,
      the Navy is having real busy time out there, those platforms
      also sit right in the path that the North uses to infiltrate
      boats&ships into the South. Heard there was trouble with the
      platforms getting shot at and stuff. Navy is spending a lot more
      time checking Junks out now. He even said that the platforms
      are armed- cannons, missiles, radar,all kinds of shit now.
      all unofficial& very hush hush. says they anchor a patrolboat
      nearby for cover. You hear anything on that, Dan?"

      " No, just some crazy talk that the Navy was using
      'killer dolphins' to nail NVA frogmen out there. "

      "Now I know I been drinking too much. Dolphins?
      Hell, they drafted Flipper! Wondered why that show went off TV!

      Come on now boys, my pockets are full of MPC script and piasters,
      I'm sure you two can help me spend it, as its all monopoly
      money back in the States."

      "Sure thing, Tex, know just the place where the B-Girls are nice."

      "well, what you waiting for, Clerk Dan, we are waiting for your Orders-
      Lead the Way!"
      ---------------------
      Now our story so far.
      1969 - large deposits of light offshore Oil discovered by a small Unocal
      research team from the Con Son Islands to the Spratlys, to the Paracel
      Islands.

      Moving quickly, Unocal signed a deal(very generous, due to Unocals'
      suits missing the importance of a side agreement on sales) with the
      Republic of Vietnam. This deal was good enough, that the companies
      currently doing business in the RVN were cut out of the
      picture by South Vietnam, thier pre- offshore discovery business
      looking small change.

      This sudden windfall soured relations between Unocal and the other
      Producers, making it difficult for unocal to go with its normal
      suppliers. Contacts between Vice President Ky and the South Koreans,& their
      growing heavy industry with companies like Hyundai and Samsung, made possible
      to being able to supply Unocal with the vast amounts of material to build the
      platforms and supporting infrastructure needed.


      This deal also put President Thieu in charge of the new company,
      National Petroleum of Vietnam, though this is not visible unless
      a close look is done at the companies structure. One would also notice
      that some ARVN Generals were resigning, to take over posts in the
      companies structure.

      Relations between President Thieu and Vice President Ky are improved to pre
      Tet'68
      levels, as both Ky and Thieu see that they do need each other to
      succeed.

      Vietnamization in ongoing, accelerated by S. Korea's offer to add
      to the Free World Allies contingent by an additional Division. This
      allows additional US troop withdrawals, including parts of the
      troubled Americal Division to rotate back. For some in the US,
      however, find themselves & the Nat. Guard units they are in are
      sent over,unexpectedly activated.

      Many in South Vietnam notice the increased presence of the South Koreans,
      Most visible is the larger numbers of the Han Jin company transports
      moving oil&gas where Shell or Caltex once had. Others notice their
      new military presence in patroling the 'Iron Triangle'

      New Oil platforms were quickly raised in the South China Seas,
      unsurprisingly causing trouble with North Vietnam, and
      unexpectedly with Red China.

      South Vietnam claimed the areas where the platforms went up,
      flying the Flag of the Republic of Vietnam, and North Vietnam
      tried to disrupt operations on these platforms with small unit
      attacks by sea, and late Jan. 1970 by several Il-28 'Beagles'
      flying from Hanoi. After the bombing(which did little damage
      to the uncompleted platforms) USS Long Beach took down the
      attackers with long range 'Talos' SAMs, with F-8 Crusaders
      from USS Oriskany forcibly 'escorting' Chinese Tu-4
      'Bull' recon planes away from the area afterwards.

      South Vietnam and USA claimed the platforms as RVN territory, each
      with its own 12 mile territorial water limit, enforced by the USN

      the new platforms were armed(and USN crewed) and had US Marines
      for security.

      Much acrimony followed in the UN.

      ARVN units had massed on the Cambodian border in March following
      the Coup by Lon Nol, and his failure to stop Communist infiltration
      and by his turning a blind eye to his Military ethnic cleansing
      of ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia, whether they were
      Communists or not.
      The sight of mutilated bodies of ethnic Vietnamese merchants&
      thier families floating down the Mekong River, filled ARVN troops
      with resolve that was seldom seen before.

      During a heated telephone exchange between Thieu and Lon Nol
      over the atrocities, Nol had a serious Stroke, and would spend
      the last two months of his life in a hospital bed.

      The following day, Pres. Thieu announces to the world that
      ARVN forces would advance to Phnom Phen to help acting
      Premier Prince Matak restore order.

      unannounced was President Nixon authorizing airstrikes to support
      the ARVN thrust to take the 'Parrots Beak' and secure highway
      Route 1 to Phnom Phen, along with AirMobile troops to assist.
      but no ground formations, as it was thought that with the
      ARVN Troops freed up by the Koreans, 45,000 men would be enough.

      However, shortly afterwards, the Nixon administration put
      Operation PROUD DEEP into effect in April 1970, the End
      of the Bombing Halt of the North, and rotated more modern USAF Air
      Defense
      assets in country should the North (or some whispers of China)
      decided to try more bombing of Southern targets. Airfields and
      SAM sites were targeted, and the exclusion zone reduced by the
      Chinese Border.

      The Bombings cut enough supplies to the NVA & VC to allow the
      ARVN forces to hold onto Route 1

      From Peking, Prince Sihanouk rails against the pro-American government
      in Cambodia after the National Assembly requests aid from the US
      and other Free World Allies, and gets pledges of aid from other
      groups like the Pathet Lao, Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge

      Tensions are rising all over Asia

      Comment

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