No blood for oil? Thank a fracking oilman.



The Middle East is on fire from Tripoli to Mesopotamia and no one in Boulder is chanting “no blood for oil.”

Not even the folks at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.

Especially not the folks at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. Nary a peep about blood for oil out of them.

“No blood for oil” was a cynical lie coined by the Marxist left, which maintained the United States went to war with Iraq in 2003 in order to rip off Iraq’s oil. Chanting “no blood for oil” was all the rage at the time.

(For the record, there were a number of reasons why the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, but grabbing Iraq’s oil wasn’t one of them. If there is any lingering doubt on this point, consult the list of oil companies which have gotten concessions from the Iraqi government. American oil companies barely show up on it.)

Still, lie or no, the “no blood for oil” trope was passionately embraced and loudly repeated by “peace and justice” lefties at the time, including the local ones. If you had attached them to a polygraph and asked them if they believed the U.S. had gone to war with Iraq in order to grab Iraq’s oil, the needle wouldn’t have moved. 

Today, “No blood for oil” is no longer a cynical lie. It is a ludicrous lie — so ludicrous that even the local peace and justice crowd has gagged on it.

The United States isn’t going to shed American blood for oil in Iraq, Libya or anywhere else anytime soon, and the reason it won’t can be given in one word: Fracking.

Since 2008, American crude oil production has increased by more than a billion barrels a year thanks to horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing (from 5 million barrels a day in 2008 to 8.4 million barrels a day and counting this year.) These two technologies have made it possible to produce hundreds of billions of barrels of crude found in shale, which can’t be extracted with conventional technology. In addition, natural gas production has skyrocketed, along with production of other hydrocarbon liquids like condensate (ethane) that are often found in association with natural gas. Production of natural gas liquids, which can be used instead of crude by the petrochemical industry, is also up by nearly a billion barrels a year.

It wasn’t the peace and justice folks who turned the phrase “no blood for oil” into a historical artifact. It was the American oil and gas industry that has freed the country from dependence on oil imports from the hostile and untrustworthy suppliers — despite the best efforts of the peace and justice gang to stop them.

A big part of the reason why peace and justice and occupy Wall Streeters aren’t chanting “no blood for oil” anymore is that for the last two years they have been doing their damndest to destroy America’s domestic oil and gas production by attempting to ban fracking.

This point cannot be made too often. The left’s war on fracking is really a war on domestic oil and gas production. Fracking has been around for half a century, and the technology is routinely used in the completion of 95 percent of the oil and gas wells drilled in the U.S. If fracking is banned, domestic oil and gas production will collapse as quickly as it boomed six years ago — and the United States will be back to importing three-quarters of the crude it uses, quite possibly at double the price. And the prospect of an American blood sacrifice for oil will be neither ludicrous nor discretionary.

(Most, if not all, of the environmental problems blamed on fracking have nothing to do with fracking per se, but are industrial accidents associated with other aspects of oil and gas production. Indeed, fracking is one of the safer, less-polluting technologies used in oil and gas production. Most of the contamination from oil and gas production is the result of human error — improperly installed well casing, defective blowout preventers, work accidents — or of industry corner-cutting. But that does not mean the oil and gas production is an intrinsically dangerous undertaking. The left’s search for smoking gun evidence that fracking is so intrinsically dangerous that it must be banned is increasingly reminiscent of the search for weapons of mass destruc tion in Iraq.)

Most Americans intuitively recognize both the economic and national security threats posed by dependence on oil imports from countries that want to see us dead.

Too bad America’s “peace and justice” activists aren’t among them. They self-evidently don’t give a rip about the danger dependence on energy imports from hostile suppliers poses to the country and are cheerfully prepared to defame, delegitimize and politically sabotage those who have broken that dangerous dependence. No blood for oil? No thanks to people like them.


This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.