Oil Espionage: Don’t Mess With China!

Static Chaos's picture

By Static Chaos

An American geologist-- Xue Feng--was sentenced to eight years in prison for gathering data on China's oil industry, as reported by the Associated Press today:

“[The] verdict said Xue received documents on geological conditions of onshore oil wells and a database that gave the coordinates of more than 30,000 oil and gas wells belonging to China National Petroleum Corporation and listed subsidiary PetroChina Ltd. That information….was sold to IHS Energy, the U.S. consultancy Xue worked for and now known as IHS Inc.”

While it is still unclear whether Xue actually committed the alleged act, oil industry espionage is hardly anything new.

Highlighting “cyberspies” are increasingly targeting strategically important businesses, The Christian Science Monitor did an in-depth report in January that at least three U.S. major oil companies were the target of a series of cyber attacks.

The “hacking” was aimed at the valuable “bid data” detailing the quantity, value, and location of oil discoveries worldwide. Oil companies typically spend many millions of dollars to find the next big profitable discovery. Other countries or competitors may very well save considerable time and money and gain a competitive edge, or advantage in a bidding war, by employing cyberspies to steal such valuable information.

Although the Monitor article suggested China could be the culprit behind the cyber attacks on the U.S. oil companies, there's no real evidence of China's involvement.

With the country’s economy consuming huge amounts of energy, China has been among the most aggressive in grabbing available resource base around the world.  As such, it is probably not a surprise that China will be inclined to impose harsh punishment to anyone that Beijing perceives as undermining this endeavor.

Xue’s eight-year sentence is actually consistent with the ones imposed on four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto, including one Australian national. The four received jail terms ranging from seven to 14 years earlier this year on bribery and trade secrets charges.

The Associated Press said the U.S. Embassy issued a statement calling for Xue's immediate release and deportation to the United States. 

Meanwhile, the NY Times described "American officials reacted with dismay and puzzlement" to the eight-year prison sentence imposed, which seems like a case of amnesia, since the U.S. is no stranger to the heavy jail terms typically handed down to spies, even in economic cases. 

Nonetheless, this case does punctuate the global battle over scarce resources, and the wrath of China if Beijing senses a threat to its national interest.

Static Chaos

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Fred123's picture

I guess the Chinese Communist Party members stole as much as they could from the 'people' so they are moving on to much bigger game.

GFORCE's picture

Ahhh, I love to start my day with a healthy dose of communist a$$ kissing!

Moonrajah's picture

Very well, sir. You kiss, I watch.

Oh regional Indian's picture

I like how "strict" China is with people who spy on them.

At the same time, they rip off the world's Intellectual property with nary a care. China, through their vast and connected diaspora, have the best industrial espionage system in the world.

Total joke.




dogbreath's picture

yeah.  owning a chinese restaraunt really puts someone in a position to gather sensitive information.

bonddude's picture

Big Trouble in Little China ?

Oh regional Indian's picture

Hey DB,
Since I sense no sarcasm in the tone of your post, I'll say two things.
1. Very occidental error. See the obvious (Chinese own restaurants), draw hasty (mostly wrong) conclusion. And then spout off, quickly. Not a good tactic for life.
2. I'll leave you to research how many Chinese descent Americans are in key research positions in universities, 'gov labs, companies etc...... but to your example, one generation short order chinese cook, 2nd generation restaurant owner, 3rd gen in MIT, 4th gen eats your lunch.

Check it out. Classic immigration pattern.

You've been asleep at your own wheel too long it seems.



Max Hunter's picture

How insightful. I will assume now that you are also aware of the Jewish over-representation in the same fields you describe in addition to: Banking, Industry, Academics, Publishing, MEDIA, Entertainment, etc. etc...

I can only conclude you have conntected this information with the possibility of Israeli influence in U.S. policy not being in the interest of the American people, but instead for a handful of an over-represented minority.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Max, This discussion is about the chinese and I think the pattern I am suggesting is quite obvious. You seem to be interested in making all my assumptions for me, all wrong.


Max Hunter's picture

I don't think your pattern is as obvious as the one I pointed out.

Why do the chinese need to steel secrets when they have American companies setting up shop there? Everything I buy that is of any real value and made from China is from the actual American company producing their products there.

I'm just confused how someone who's interest is self-preservation or self-protection is zeroed in on industrial espionage by China.

The problem is what we are giving china, not what they are stealing.

I just get a little confused how one person's insight only extends to selective flaws in our policy (or lack of) of self preservation.

Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

And the Indian Asians are pure as a fresh snowfall on Tohoe's Donner Pass.

At least the Chinese buy our worthless junk(see freddie/fannie).

Oh regional Indian's picture

You said that Scooby, I didn't.

America has always imported it's talent, so it's not such a big deal.

Plus, India is buying "Real" American junk. GM is one of the biggest car companies in India now. Every large American company is heavily invested and profiting here. Even Amway has a huge presence.

But from an intelligence perspective anyways, it's a sieve.


Temporalist's picture

Please choose a different color for the links they are nearly invisible.

Spitzer's picture

If side effects like blurred vision and frequent urination occur, please consult your doctor

spekulatn's picture

Static Chaos be smackin that ass!! Great stuff.