In a Financial Times article reprinted in The Globe and Mail on 19 May 2011 under the title Oil explorers push boundaries of political, geological risk, Christopher Thompson examines how how oil companies are increasingly prepared to plunge forward with exploration despite severe personal and political risks. The following excerpt deals with the DPRK:
Aminex, which has substantial operations in east Africa, has an offshore concession in a highly prospective market considered politically forbidden: North Korea.
“You have to push out to politically and physically difficult places,” says Brian Hall, chief executive.
A year ago, Aminex signed a production-sharing contract in the Korean East Sea but western sanctions against the North Korean government mean it has to tread lightly. Aminex is deferring bringing in a partner until the geopolitical situation improves.
“North Korea doesn’t sit well with our U.S. assets politically at the moment,” says Mr. Hall. “If this acreage were off the coast of Angola or Brazil there would be a rush to go there … Because of the politics, it may as well be on the moon at the moment.”