The Last Mountain

©Stephen McDonnell 2002

draft April 27. 2002

2. Background information

"Man if every Chinaman drove an SUV, the world's oil supply would be gone in a day! Think of all the money I could make, if that happened..."

a remark made by Zacheria Taylor Wootherspoon, oil tycoon


From the People's China Daily April 22, 2002

China to Step Up Overseas Oil Exploitation

To ease the country's increasing oil shortage, China has planned to increase exploitation of overseas oil resources while continuing to tap its own oil reserves.

Tian Fengshan, minister of Land and Resources, said at the first national symposium on the selection of strategic oil and natural gas resources Sunday that China should make better use of overseas oil and natural gas resources.

Zhong Weizhi, director of the recently built National Strategic Research Center for Oil and Gas Resources said that the country can solve its oil shortage only if it makes full use of both domestic and overseas oil resources and markets.

China's three oil giants, namely China National Petroleum Corporation (C
NPC), China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (SinoPec), and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) have all poured huge sums of money into prospecting and exploiting oil overseas.
Zhong said that although the three companies all have their own plans for overseas oil exploitation, these plans belong to the enterprises themselves.

The government is in the process of mapping out an overall plan for overseas oil exploitation which would help the three State- owned oil giants to work together, Zhong added.
He Shenghou, a department manager with Sinopec, said that major international oil companies are all scrambling to obtain rights of exploitation and production in areas rich in oil and natural gas reserves.

It's natural for China to increase efforts in this regard, which will help ease shortage in domestic resources, He said. "To participate in the exploitation of international oil resources could reduce the risk of excessive dependence on oil imports,"

"Statistics indicate that on average each person in China uses 1.3 barrels of oil and 18 cubic meters of natural gas a year, far below the world per-capita level. China's oil imports have been rising for years. In 2001, imports exceeded 65 million tons, nearly 30 percent of the year's total oil consumption."

Author's note:

The average North American uses X barrels of oil and X cubic meters of natural gas a year. If the Average Chinese person consumes at that rate, the World's known reserves of fossil fuel will be depleted within a year.

From Hubbert's Peak, The Impending World Oil Shortage, by Prof. Kenneth S. Deffeyes Princeton University,

Global oil production will probably reach a peak sometime during this decade. After the peak, the world's production of crude oil will fall, never to rise again.

Beijing Time Friday, January 04, 2002

Remains of Three World War II US Planes Discovered in China

The remains of three US planes which crashed during World War II have been discovered within a distance of less than 30 kilometers in the area of the border between China and Myanmar. It has been determined that the three planes were members of the Flying Tigers, which made great contributions to the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

The six pieces of wreckage were found in Yingjiang County, southwest China's Yunnan Province, neighboring Myanmar.

Jia Po, secretary of the Communist Party of China's Zhina Township Committee, upon hearing that wreckage of a US plane had been sighted on Mount Erniang, near Lushan Village, led a search party.

called "Jiantang" in Tibetan language, which means " broad flatland ".
Surrounded by mountains, the vast flat meadows are watered by the Longtan
and Naizi rivers which wind across the flatlands. It is the capital of
Diqing Tibetan Ethnic Minority Autonomous Prefecture. At 3,300 metres of
elevation, it covers over 11,600 square kilometres and lies about 700
kilometres from Kunming. The Central Town of Zhongdian City is called
"Dukezong" by Tibetans, which means a castle on stone mountains. Within
Zhongdian County, there are 470 snow capped mountains above 4,000 metres
above sea level.

At this place where the Euro-Asian Plate and the Indian Plate join are
the highest mountains, peaks and mountain ranges in Yunnan. The strong
crustal stress and the rapidly rising earth crust created magnificent
natural scenery here. The highest peak is the Kagebo Peak of the Meili
Snow Mountain in the Nushan Mountain Range. It stands at 6,740 metres
above sea level. Around it are over 20 snow-capped peaks all over 5,000
metres above sea level.These high mountains and deep gorges have provided
the vertical geological distribution which is the ideal habitat for
numerous animals and plants. Two national nature preserves have been
formed here: the Baimang Snow Mountain Nature Preserve and the Gaoligong
Mountain Nature Preserve. From 3,000 metres to 4,500 metres above sea
level, several mysterious ice-covered lakes lie in the mountains among
precipitous snow peaks and boundless forests like shining pearls.
In the east of the area where the three rivers run side by side,is Diqing
Tibetan Ethnic Minority Autonomous Prefecture. To its east is the Nujiang
River Gorge which is known as the "Giant Gorge of the Orient". The area
has a cultural history which spans thousands of years. Ethnic groups such
as the Tibetan, the Lisu,the Nu, the Dulong, the Bai, the Pumi and the
Naxi have lived among these mountains and gorges for centuries and
created their own unique cultures.

Thus Zhongdian not only has precipitous topography with high mountains
and deep gorges, it also has the climatic changes from frigid zone to
temperate and subtropical zones."