Why It Truly Is Blood for Oil

All the World Wants the Oil

Mike is right about the Iraq War. It is all about oil, and lots of it. Early estimates indicated that there were at least 118 billion barrels of oil in known reserves under the Iraqi soil. That is about half of what is in Saudi Arabia and about four times the reserves of the U.S. (which varies depending upon how we count the reserves in the Gulf of Mexico). More oil is being discovered in Iraq than previously known. Before the Iraq War started, there were around 1,600 oil wells in Iraq producing about 1.1 million barrels a day. Texas produced about the same about of oil (1.1 million barrels a day) but had over 157,000 oil wells pumping it out of the ground. The numbers have changed slightly, but the picture is the same.

War for Oil
War for Oil

If you recall all those burning oil wells after the first Gulf War in Kuwait, you will understand that many of those burning wells were gushing oil and gas. That’s why they continued to burn. This illustrates how many of the wells in that region are under pressure and how petroleum flows to the surface with no need of pumps. Iraqi oil fields are some of the least expensive places on the planet to extract oil. Oil there is shallower and easier to drill for than many of our current U.S. wells. It is often pressurized, with lots of oil per well, as you can see by doing the math comparing the Texas and Iraq wells. By the way, those Gulf of Mexico oil wells can be as deep as five miles down and super expensive. Wells in Iraq can be as low as a few thousand feet with easy drilling.

Before Bush Jr. invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein had contracts worth billions of dollars with Russian (Zarubezhneft Oil and Lukoil Corporation), Chinese (China National Petroleum Corporation) and French firms (Total Fina Elf Oil and GAZ DE FRANCE) to extract and process Iraqi oil. This is why the French were so upset at us. It wasn’t so much at Bush’s six-guns-ablazing approach to the war as it was their loss of these valuable oil contracts for their corporate team. With Saddam & Sons, the Russians, Chinese and French out of the way, the British (British Petroleum) and the U.S. (ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobile, Halliburton, etc.) could move in on the action. Cheney and the neocons even planned that the proceeds from the oil were supposed to pay for the war. It seems that not only couldn’t they use an adding machine, but they were also ignorant of the cultural geography of Iraq and weren’t good at executing the war in the region either. So the Bush administration dug into Iraq for the long haul.

No U.S. president can completely pull out of Iraq now. We’ve done the dirty work of getting rid of Saddam Hussein & Sons and creating a state that can be controlled from the outside and which needs security. Those pesky Islamic extremists were an unexpected problem, but Iraq is now so divided that they will need our presence for some time. Our military has no plans to leave Iraq even if everyone wants them out. Saddam’s crew were beastly cruel in dealing with their opposition and keeping order. They weren’t sharing their oil money with the Iraqi people either. Under democratic principles, Saddam should have been deposed by their own people long ago. President Clinton wanted to go in and take him out. This was not just a Bush plan, but Bush had 9/11 under his belt to persuade the American people to go to war, propaganda as it was. Bill Clinton didn’t have a good reason to rally the U.S. to do the same but he wanted to and tried to taunt Saddam and his military to escalate a war.

Royal Berglee teaches Cultural Geography at Morehead State University in Kentucky.  This is Royal’s response to Mike’s post Walls Tumble and Crumble.

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3 Responses to “Why It Truly Is Blood for Oil”

  1. February 10th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Blind Squirrel FCD says:

    I don’t see any comments.

  2. February 11th, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Blind Squirrel FCD says:

    Ok, I see how it works now. But no preview function? Is HTML enabled? I need a preview.
    I was under the impression that the reserve figures give by the Saudis were highly suspect.

  3. May 5th, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Julia Mason says:

    the oil spill in Mexico would surely be one of the greatest environmental disasters for this year.`”~

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