Could Japan have found the Daqing oil fields in Manchuria during World War 2?

  • '22

    That would have saved a lot of fighting.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18

    @superbattleshipyamato Given Japan’s focus on basically using the Chinese population as slave labor to fuel their economy, I doubt it. Only way I can see them finding anything like that would have been in some kind of “what-if” scenario:

    1. Japan is run by cooler heads who stop after making Manchuko into a puppet state (i.e. no broader invasion of China). The peaceful (but tense) climate may have allowed Japan to properly investigate the area.

    2. The Xi’an Incident (when the CCP kidnapped Chiang Kai Shek and forced him to pause the Chinese Civil War to fight Japan) didn’t happen. With Nationalist China still primarily fighting the Communists, Japan may have opted to sit back and let China weaken itself, giving it time to properly investigate the area.

    3. Hitler is stopped early (either by never coming to power, being toppled by a coup before 1936, etc.). Most of Japan’s aggression stemmed from the notion that the world powers were more concerned with happenings in Europe vs. what Japan was doing in China. More direct pressure from the west would probably have prevented the further breakout of hostilities and created a scenario where Japan may have had time to properly investigate the area.

    Note that these are all pretty unrealistic scenarios (except the Xi’an Incident not occurring. That’s a pretty interesting rabbit hole to go down).

    That being said, the oil field wasn’t discovered IRL until 1959, so the technology needed to find it probably outright wasn’t there at any point before 1941.

  • '22


    I was mainly concerned by the technological aspect of it. Like if I somehow took over the mind of Yamamoto in 1940 and could speak Japanese and told Japan where to find them, would it have been possible to drill and use it to solve Japan’s oil problem?

    Yes, the three events you mentioned are unlikely to happen.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18

    @superbattleshipyamato Ah. Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that one. I’m not involved in the oil industry and since the oil field was discovered by the communist Chinese we’ll probably never get a clear answer on what exact level of technology was used. I seriously doubt Japan had any of the technology necessary to drill for the oil though. At most, they would have needed to import parts from a Western Country and given the geopolitical situation I doubt anyone would have been willing to sell that sort of equipment to a country as hostile (and decidedly non-western) as Japan.

  • '22


    Thank you for responding!

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @superbattleshipyamato Imagine of Japan just stopped short ( no war either) of the oil embargo while holding Manchuria? It would have permanently stifled China, while giving Japan resources and population to produce many goods. Japan in 60 years hence would be the current China. And no more argument about Formosa ( japans since 1895)

  • '22


    I think Japan still would have invaded the Soviet Union though, if the Second Sino-Japanese War continued (the oil embargo only really happened once they invaded Indochina).

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