2006 Meeting

DPRK Energy Experts Working Group Meeting

June 26th and 27th, 2006

San Francisco, CA

Co-hosted by the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford University and the Center for the Pacific Rim at University of San Francisco.

Meeting funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and Korea Energy Economics Institute.

The New Land, Ploughshares, and MacArthur Foundations supported related work that feeds into this workshop.


The energy sector is a critical dimension of the insecurities posed by the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (hereafter the DPRK) within the Northeast Asia region and beyond.  If the Republic of Korea (ROK), the United States, and their partners manage to negotiate a non-violent resolution to North Korea’s nuclear challenge, then energy will form a substantial fraction of the on-going negotiation and implementation agenda, both in bilateral relations between the ROK, the United States, and the DPRK, and in multilateral arrangements made to address the DPRK’s energy needs.

To date, energy analysis of the DPRK has been largely a haphazard affair.  Nautilus Institute currently maintains one of the only detailed energy supply and demand database in existence for the DPRK.  This database has been developed over twelve years of work on energy and related issues in the DPRK, both on the ground inside the DPRK, in consulting work for international agencies involving the DPRK, and in contract work for the US and ROK governments.  The database, which (to date) includes estimated DPRK energy supply-demand balances for the DPRK for the years 1990, 1996, and 2000, has been developed by sifting through as much information on the DPRK could be obtained, but has also, where data were lacking or suspect, used comparisons with the intensities of energy use for various activities from other countries where direct data from the DPRK, as well as assumptions informed by anecdotal observations of visitors and various other types of information.  This database is the underlying foundation of Nautilus’ publications on DPRK energy issues, which in turn are used as reference sources by many analysts on this topic.

In addition, Nautilus Institute has developed a variety of DPRK “energy paths” based on different assumptions about the future evolution of the DPRK’s economy—paths that have provided the basis for extensive policy analysis in relation to the DPRK

As the Nautilus analysis has been and is conducted, to the extent possible, in physical terms, it is amenable to consistency analysis for physical plausibility.  It has also been corroborated in many respects by experts working in the DPRK at various times, and informal feedback has been obtained from North Koreans in various contexts.

Mounting uncertainty over the future of the DPRK, however, means that it is now urgent to expand the scope and increase the depth of data compilation and analysis of the DPRK’s energy economy.

There has been no update of the Nautilus DPRK energy sector database itself since 2002, and the demands for data and analysis by participants at the Six-Party talks and in bilateral negotiations by the ROK and other countries with the DPRK have accelerated beyond the level that can be met on an ad hoc, unsupported basis.  To assist in meeting these demands for up-to-date information on the DPRK energy sector, and for analysis on different potential DPRK energy futures, the US Department of Energy has provided Nautilus Institute with a special grant to update the Nautilus DPRK energy database and analysis, and to hold a DPRK Energy Experts Study Group Meeting to bring together those with expertise in varied aspects of the DPRK economy and energy sector.  The Korea Energy Economics Institute is Nautilus’ partner in this effort.

The DPRK Energy Experts’ Study Group Meeting on June 26 and 27 will serve as to inform the Nautilus DPRK energy sector analysis update.  Experts in attendance at the meeting will provide both pertinent, recent data and special insights that will help to make the database as reflective as possible of actual conditions in the DPRK.  This in turn will provide crucial input to the analysis needed to help to inform the parties to the 6-Party talks regarding possible approaches to DPRK energy sector redevelopment.

In addition, the DPRK Energy Experts Study Group Meeting will serve as an opportunity for experts on the DPRK to exchange views on the appropriate “next steps” in DPRK energy sector redevelopment.  In the process, the experts in attendance will help to further develop and elaborate the activities and means by which the various parties concerned with Korean peninsula affairs might engage and work with the DPRK to help resolve both the DPRK’s energy problems, and, in so doing, begin to address and ameliorate the regional and global insecurities of which the DPRK’s energy problems are a key part.

To request further information, comment on this document, or to ask a question about the Nautilus Institute please e-mail Scott@nautilus.org