Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy Info

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Twilight in the Desert reveals a Saudi oil and production
industry that could soon approach a serious, irreversible decline. In
this exhaustively researched book, veteran oil industry analyst Matthew
Simmons draws on his three-plus decades of insider experience and more
than 200 independently produced reports about Saudi petroleum resources
and production operations. He uncovers a story about Saudi
Arabia’s troubled oil industry, not to mention its political and
societal instability, which differs sharply from the globally accepted
Saudi version. It’s a story that is provocative and disturbing,
based on undeniable facts, but until now never told in its entirety.
Twilight in the Desert answers all readers’ questions about Saudi
oil and production industries with keen examination instead of
unsubstantiated posturing, and takes its place as one of the most
important books of this still-young century.

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Reviews for Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy:

3

Oct 03, 2014

The "peak oil" theory holds that the world is running out of oil resources, production soon will begin a precipitous decline, and terrible consequences will result. This theory has been advanced every few years since at least the early 1950s. However, the predicted catastrophe never comes to pass.

This book, published in 2005, represents perhaps the most recent iteration of this theory. The author exhaustively demonstrates that the small number of very large oil fields on which Saudi Arabia's oil The "peak oil" theory holds that the world is running out of oil resources, production soon will begin a precipitous decline, and terrible consequences will result. This theory has been advanced every few years since at least the early 1950s. However, the predicted catastrophe never comes to pass.

This book, published in 2005, represents perhaps the most recent iteration of this theory. The author exhaustively demonstrates that the small number of very large oil fields on which Saudi Arabia's oil industry is based are aging, new fields are not being found, and that Saudi Arabia's ability to act as the world's "reserve producer" of oil may soon come to an end.

At the same time, the author completely missed the boom in hydrological fracturing, or "fracking," and horizontal drilling which was gathering force just as this book was published. Indeed, the only mention of these techniques in Twilight in the Desert comes in the context of criticizing Saudi Arabia for misusing these technologies to boost production at existing fields, and thereby risk even greater harm to the fields' long-term productive capacity. The author completely missed the significance of these techniques as a way to get oil out of "tight" formations that previously were unavailable for production.

Today, of course, fracking and horizontal drilling have triggered on ongoing boom in drilling and production that shows no sign of ending. People no longer talk about peak oil, and even such notable opponents of the oil industry as Barack Obama cite this boom as being able to alter world politics, and in a good way. (And, of course, Obama tries to take credit for it, though he has done nothing to help.)

So far as I know, Twilight in the Desert paints an accurate picture of problems in the Saudi oil fields, and production in Saudi Arabia may begin to decline because of those problems. By completely missing the boat on fracking and horizontal drilling, however, the author fatally marred his argument. The world is not running out of oil, at least not yet, and the policy prescriptions that might be appropriate for a world with inadequate oil supplies would be a disaster for the world we actually live in. Trends in the production and consumption of petroleum - and other resources for that matter - deserve careful attention. But the Chicken Littles should be sent home, rather than being allowed to roost where they can do harm. ...more
4

Apr 16, 2012

As a petroleum geologist, I have long known that oilfields have finite lives. They perform very well in their youth, then limp along for years and years of middle and old age. I also knew how the number of very large fields was small, while modest ones were more common.

Matthew Simmons does an excellent job of explaining these facts, and even goes into the basics of petroleum engineering in an easy to understand manner. He then sets out like an investigative reporter going through years and years As a petroleum geologist, I have long known that oilfields have finite lives. They perform very well in their youth, then limp along for years and years of middle and old age. I also knew how the number of very large fields was small, while modest ones were more common.

Matthew Simmons does an excellent job of explaining these facts, and even goes into the basics of petroleum engineering in an easy to understand manner. He then sets out like an investigative reporter going through years and years of articles published by Aramco employees in engineering and scientific journals to uncover the true story on the performance and reserves situation of the few large Middle Eastern oil fields the world depends on. The book offers a very compelling case, and contains a number of useful maps. However, the the book is somewhat outdated. Mr. Simmons has underestimated the impact of new technologies which today are making marginal reservoirs viable. We see these technologies at work in the gas and oil shale boom in the United States.

Twilight in the Desert is a good read for anyone interested in the world economy, alternative energy, or environmental issues. ...more
2

Oct 29, 2008

This is an interesting read...but in my opinion it is far too long, and laden with technical information. The sense I get is that (and Simmons admits as much) the technical pieces are over the average person's head, but not informed enough to bring value to the technical audience. To me, that begs the question, who benefits from all of it?

In including so much of this technical information, I feel like Simmons often belabored his points, which made things seem extremely redundant (at one point This is an interesting read...but in my opinion it is far too long, and laden with technical information. The sense I get is that (and Simmons admits as much) the technical pieces are over the average person's head, but not informed enough to bring value to the technical audience. To me, that begs the question, who benefits from all of it?

In including so much of this technical information, I feel like Simmons often belabored his points, which made things seem extremely redundant (at one point he even suggests skipping ahead because his field-by-field review was essentially the same information over and over again.)

My final issue is that I don't believe he did enough to present the opposing view to his hypothesis. In neglecting to do that, I felt like he made his argument less air-tight in a way (although I firmly agree with him).

While I didn't give the book a high rating, I am glad that I read the book. In order to write it, Simmons had to sift through thousands of technical papers which in many cases directly contradict estimates quoted to the public. At the very least, he provides enough evidence to suggest that we should be looking at any provided estimates more skeptically.

As a footnote, many of the consequences he predicts in the final chapter have already happened or are starting to happen in 2008, which most definitely further validates his hypothesis.

I would recommend this book if you have interest in the technical methods of maximizing oil output, and/or the life cycles of oil fields. Otherwise, you could read the first and last chapters of the book and probably come away with a good understanding of the whole book.


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4

Aug 30, 2019

Another dire warning that we must develop energy alternatives

In his book Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak (2005) Kenneth S. Deffeyes warned us that peak oil is upon us and that what is left in the ground is just about the same as what we have already used. He pointed to Thanksgiving Day, 2005 as the day oil hit its peak. Now another world renowned expert on oil, Matthew R. Simmons in this densely considered book, is advising us that the estimates of oil left in the ground by the largest Another dire warning that we must develop energy alternatives

In his book Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak (2005) Kenneth S. Deffeyes warned us that peak oil is upon us and that what is left in the ground is just about the same as what we have already used. He pointed to Thanksgiving Day, 2005 as the day oil hit its peak. Now another world renowned expert on oil, Matthew R. Simmons in this densely considered book, is advising us that the estimates of oil left in the ground by the largest producer of oil, Saudi Arabia, are probably inflated, and at any rate cannot be independently confirmed.

Furthermore, it is supposed that estimates by almost all oil producing countries are inflated since such inflation improves their ability to influence the market while allowing them (OPEC members at least) to produce more.

A question that might be asked is how do we know that there are not great fields of oil somewhere waiting to be discovered? Certainly if there are, the twilight of the oil-based world economy is pushed further into the future leaving us with much less to worry about now. Simmons answers this question for Saudi Arabia at least. He makes it clear that the possibility of any great discoveries on the Arabian peninsula "must now be deemed remote" since the land has been so thoroughly explored. (See Chapter 10 "Coming Up Empty in New Exploration.")

Deffeyes answered this question in another way. Using logic from his mentor M. King Hubbert who predicted with startling accuracy when US production would peak (early 1970s) Deffeyes argues that what's left can be inferred from current production curves. Because oil exploration and production has been so extensive world-wide, if the oil were there, it would have been discovered and drilled for. This is not to say that there are not some (small) fields left undiscovered. There are some, no doubt, but like puddles added to a great lake, they won't affect the overall picture.

This same sort of logic can be applied to Saudi Arabia, and Simmons does indeed use such logic. However, he goes beyond that because he believes that oil prediction simulation models (see Chapter 12, "Saudi Oil Reserves Claims in Doubt") can fail. Typically, he writes, an oilfield will yield about 75 percent of its oil during the first half of its producing life. (p. 278) Almost all of the great Saudi fields are decades old.

The strange thing about this book is that while it is touted as another book predicting the end of oil, it actually argues that the situation is not entirely clear. It is possible that there is still a lot of undiscovered oil left in Saudi Arabia in places such as "the land along the Iraq border, an unexplored area almost as large as California" and a couple of other places. (p. 243) World wide such unexplored places are many. Nonetheless even if a lot of oil is discovered say in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or deep in the Antarctic, the cost of producing that oil will be greater than the cost of producing oil from say the great Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia where the oil gushes out of the ground almost effortlessly.

Actually, according to Simmons "effortlessly" is no longer the correct adjective to use. As oil fields grow old some help is needed to get the oil to rise to the top and flow. Water is typically pumped into the field to get the oil to elevate. Simmons reports on the extensive use of saline water in Saudi Arabia--more evidence that there is not as much oil left as the Saudis would like us to believe.

Also a distinction must be made between pure "reserves" (actual oil in the ground) and "recoverable reserves" (oil that is cost-effective to produce). And a further distinction must be made between grades of oil. It may be cost-effective to pump the sweetest, purest grade of oil out of a field whereas lesser grades would not be worth the expense.

A weakness of the book is that, despite the words "and the World Economy" in the subtitle, which suggest an exploration of consequences and what to expect, there is next to nothing about the effect less oil (than expected) will have on the world economy. Clearly, of course, and in the broadest sense, our standard of living will go down as our energy costs rise. The subtitle is probably just a book biz editor's attempt to gain a larger readership.

Twilight in the Desert is long and extraordinarily detailed and gives the typical reader more information than perhaps would be desired. This reader came away convinced that Simmons's main argument, that Saudi oil reserves have been exaggerated, is probably correct, but curiously his extremely balanced and careful delineation left me feeling that there is still plenty of doubt about both Saudi reserves and those world wide. Stay tuned.

Regardless, one thing is clear, soon or late, within twenty years or fifty, we will have to retool our economies to run on something other than fossil fuels. The sooner we get started on that, the better. If we wait too long the sudden economic shock is likely to be catastrophic.

--Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”
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3

Nov 19, 2017

Simmons’ meticulously researched but overwritten thesis is inevitable Saudi oil production decline would precipitate conflict between royal family extravagance and needs of the burgeoning population. He was wrong in the first part but right in the second. Oil production remains steady and Saudi Aramco would allegedly be worth $2 trillion as a public company in 2018. But rather an unexpected drop in oil price ($100 to $30 to current $50) busted the country’s budget and led to “regime change”: Simmons’ meticulously researched but overwritten thesis is inevitable Saudi oil production decline would precipitate conflict between royal family extravagance and needs of the burgeoning population. He was wrong in the first part but right in the second. Oil production remains steady and Saudi Aramco would allegedly be worth $2 trillion as a public company in 2018. But rather an unexpected drop in oil price ($100 to $30 to current $50) busted the country’s budget and led to “regime change”: young prince as new king; arrest of numerous princes, business leaders, clergy, and military heads; confiscation of hundreds of billions in alleged ill-gotten fortunes; demotion of the conservative clergy; and opening up of the repressive culture. Final outcome to be determined.... ...more
3

Jan 31, 2019

Provides decent account of the history of oil production in Saudi Arabia. While Simmons makes clear how surprisingly little technical information we have about the prolific Saudi oilfields, his case for rapid imminent decline of Saudi production appears wholly speculative. As Saudi production hits new highs 15 years later, his thesis is certainly challenged. But was he simply just a little ahead of his time?
5

Nov 05, 2019

This is a kind of expose. It is about the secrecy surrounding Saudi Arabia's oil reserves. I found it quite fascinating because the author has given evidence.
3

Sep 26, 2015

This book addresses arguably the greatest threat to our industrial civilization, namely whether the biggest source of crude oil in the world has surpassed peak production and if so how fast could the decline be. You would think that such an important issue would have been studied intensively and the subject of much debate but you would be dead wrong. Instead, the Saudis have kept the rest of us in the dark about the extent of their oil reserves and the production details of individual fields in This book addresses arguably the greatest threat to our industrial civilization, namely whether the biggest source of crude oil in the world has surpassed peak production and if so how fast could the decline be. You would think that such an important issue would have been studied intensively and the subject of much debate but you would be dead wrong. Instead, the Saudis have kept the rest of us in the dark about the extent of their oil reserves and the production details of individual fields in the country since the early 1980s, citing state secrecy.

The only way to glean information and guess at current updated information is from hundreds of technical reports published by professionals on individual oil wells and reservoirs since the 1960s. This herculean effort was undertaken by the author, who 'connected the dots' from disparate pieces of data to draw some conclusion on the state of Saudi oil today. What he discovers is that there are a myriad of technical problems and challenges facing these oil fields that cast doubt on their ability to continually produce at current levels for much longer. This has been vehemently denied by the Saudis themselves, however, who continue to claim that all is well and the world can be assured of a ready supply of crude for at least another 50 years. But without divulging the details on the breakdown of oil production forecast for individual wells we can only take their word for it based on faith.

What is clear is that the biggest oil fields in the world, discovered in the 1940s, have since been producing at high levels for decades and it is inevitable that they will begin to taper down as all reservoirs eventually must, as sure as night follows day. What new technologies that have been developed in the last half century have mostly allowed a more efficient and rapid draw down of the resource, hastening the emptying of the wells and not extending their productive lives.

Ten years have passed since this book came out, we are still totally in the dark about Saudi production and reserves despite calls by the author for more information disclosure. And yet production has been held steady despite weakening global demand, causing crude oil prices to plummet. Exploration and capital expenditure has been cut dramatically as a result. Put two and two together and you arrive at the inescapable conclusion that global oil production decline must now happen even sooner than before.

In any case, the book is also a great introduction to how Saudi Arabia came to dominate crude oil, the history of discovery of the super giant fields, the biggest which accounts for a whopping 10 percent of world supply even today. While by necessity quite technical in many parts as the author details the complexities of maintaining consistently high oil flow from wells, this satisfies the curiosity of those like myself who trust only in factual information and not proclamations by others. However, there can be no definite and undisputed conclusions without the needed transparency of information. Those expecting to find detailed and up to date precise figures will be disappointed to learn that only general issues are hinted at without confirmation. ...more
5

Aug 30, 2007

This is a great book--it's a history of the oil industry, a primer on oil production technology, and a history of Saudi Arabia and its oil company Saudi-Aramco. Matt Simmons is one of the primary oil geologists who has been warning the world about "peak oil" for years. This is his magnum opus in which he presents his analysis of little-known Saudi records and reports on their oil supply and production going back decades. His main premise is that Saudi Arabia is about to or has already reached This is a great book--it's a history of the oil industry, a primer on oil production technology, and a history of Saudi Arabia and its oil company Saudi-Aramco. Matt Simmons is one of the primary oil geologists who has been warning the world about "peak oil" for years. This is his magnum opus in which he presents his analysis of little-known Saudi records and reports on their oil supply and production going back decades. His main premise is that Saudi Arabia is about to or has already reached its peak in oil production and will soon begin a decline in total output. This matters because the Saudis have always been the world's largest producer of oil generating about 20% of global oil supply. Not only that, but their oil has always been of the cheapest and best quality while also being easily recoverable. The fact that more attention is not paid to the instability of this crucial resource is rather surprising.

Saudi Arabia's largest and most important oil fields were all discovered in the 1960's or earlier with no major discoveries since (similar to the rest of the world). These mega-fields compose the vast majority of Saudi production with the largest, sixty-year-old Ghawar, responsible for about 60% of total Saudi output and about 6% of total *global* output. Simmons is basically making the case that when Ghawar peaks, Saudi Arabia peaks, and when Saudi Arabia peaks, it means we have reached "peak oil."

Saudi Arabia has generally been a close ally of the U.S., often adjusting their oil production up or down depending on global demand and the needs of its allies. During times of extreme need they have been able to increase the flow and cause a global reduction in prices to our benefit, but often at the same time permanently damaging their oil wells, reducing total recoverable oil.

Simmons goes into great detail about the science and technology behind the production of oil which is a much more complicated process than I had thought. He reviews the history of Saudi-Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, and uses it to show the evolution of oil industry technology. At this point in Saudi production, they are using incredible new techniques to extract ever more elusive oil from the aging giant fields. Advanced computer modeling, horizontal drilling and water injection are becoming the norm rather than the exception. While the oil used to gush right out of the ground, Saudi-Aramco is now forced to use increasingly convoluted means to keep the oil flowing. Unfortunately extreme measures to increase or maintain the rate of oil flow can also cause unrepairable damage to precious oil fields.

As Saudi oil production inevitably begins to decline, there will be no amazing new source that will magically appear to take its place and Russia will take over as the world's number one producer of oil. While this book can be dry and technical at times, and obviously quite bleak in its outlook, it is a vital and well-written account of a topic that has a huge impact on all of us. ...more
5

Jul 13, 2011

I cannot stress how important I think this book is. I am a recent "convert" to the Peak Oil world - somehow, I've managed to bury my head in the sand (ha ha) in regards to this topic until recently. About a month or so ago, I first heard the phrase "Peak oil" and started investigating it. I haven't stopped yet - I am almost overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of the evidence that backs up the idea of peak oil. Unlike many problems facing society today, it is easy to help people understand I cannot stress how important I think this book is. I am a recent "convert" to the Peak Oil world - somehow, I've managed to bury my head in the sand (ha ha) in regards to this topic until recently. About a month or so ago, I first heard the phrase "Peak oil" and started investigating it. I haven't stopped yet - I am almost overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of the evidence that backs up the idea of peak oil. Unlike many problems facing society today, it is easy to help people understand that peak oil really will happen. After all, most people understand that A) Oil is a non-renewable resource, and B) We are using more of it every year. At some point, this is going to get ugly.

Of course, the debate comes down to when - is it going to happen soon or hundreds of years from now? This book helps to partly answer that question. At least when it comes to Saudi Arabia, we've already peaked or we are very, very close to peaking. And as one of the documentarys that I watched said, "If Saudi Arabia has peaked, the world has peaked." THAT is a scary idea.

Yes, there is a lot of technical information in here. And yes, the author does repeat himself somewhat - partway through the book, I thought about making up a drinking game where every time the author said, "aging oilfields" or "mature oilfields" I could swig one back. I'd be slobbering drunk by the fourth chapter.

So yes, there is that. However, there's a whole lot in here that is so interesting, you can't help but gobble it down. I learned a whole lot about oilfields in this book - I will no longer take estimates of oil reserves at face value, nor will I think that "Original Oil in Place" (OOIP) is an accurate gauge of how much oil is actually going to come out of the ground. If you'd asked me before I started this book whether an oil company could pull all of the available oil out of an oil well, I probably would have said, "Yeah, sure, why not." Now I know that the percentage of oil pulled out of an oil well is, on average, staggeringly low (20% range).

If you finish this book and you haven't learned anything, you're already an oil engineer. There's really no other explanation for it. I skipped just a tiny bit of the really, really in-depth information, and I feel like I learned all that I needed to. So if you find that you are overwhelmed, skip a paragraph or two and see if it starts making sense again. Because he does repeat himself somewhat, a lot of the more complex ideas start to make sense by the end of the book.

See? All of that repetition is a blessing in disguise. :-)

Like I said, one of the most important books written today. I only wish there was an updated 2011 edition!! Mr. Simmons, any plans for such a book to be released? ...more
5

Nov 27, 2007

This is a very well written book that will quicklly get you up to speed on recent Saudi history, including how the House of Saud and Aramco came into being, and how oil wells are found and managed.

It contains a great deal of data to support the argument that all of the big Saudi wells peaked about 25 years ago and are now in various states of decline, some quite serious, and details how quickly well production can decrease after a well has peaked, as well as how many wells have water and gas This is a very well written book that will quicklly get you up to speed on recent Saudi history, including how the House of Saud and Aramco came into being, and how oil wells are found and managed.

It contains a great deal of data to support the argument that all of the big Saudi wells peaked about 25 years ago and are now in various states of decline, some quite serious, and details how quickly well production can decrease after a well has peaked, as well as how many wells have water and gas problems making production difficult, expensive, and very difficult to project.

I learned a ton about oil from this book, anyone who wants to talk intelligently about peak oil will find a great deal of useful information in this book. For instance, for every barrel of oil the US pulls out of the ground, it pulls out 7 barrels of water, which has to be treated before being disposed of, to the tune of some 5-10 billion dollars/yr. Large Saudi wells now have moderate to severe water cuts and gas caps. The book talks about projected Saudi energy needs and SA's rapidly expanding population, and also how pumping oil too quickly can permanently damage a well and result in a significantly larger percentage of the wells oil to be left in the ground as unrecoverable.

It's a thoroughly supported book that leaves me with no doubt that Saudi Arabia misrepresents oil well data, and that unfortunately we are now living through thte time of peak oil, resource wars, and if we don't address this issue with the seriousness it deserves all of our lives are going to become a lot more difficult, and our current lifestyle will become impossible to maintain.

However you are living I hope you are enjoying it, because these are the good old days: as oil prices continue to increase in the forseeable future, almost everything else will therefore become more expensive, and in the US, where a lot of the new 'service' jobs are lost to illegal immigrants, this will make for huge social stresses. ...more
3

May 19, 2009

Matt Simmons is/was an investment banker in the energy industry. He started asking questions about the Saudi Arabia Aramco oil company. When he could get no official information, he turned to the reports published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

The book is quite detailed in its analysis of the evidence, albeit indirect evidence of the coming decline of Saudi oil production.

He relates the history of oil production in the US and elsewhere, the place Saudi Arabia has taken in stabilizing Matt Simmons is/was an investment banker in the energy industry. He started asking questions about the Saudi Arabia Aramco oil company. When he could get no official information, he turned to the reports published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

The book is quite detailed in its analysis of the evidence, albeit indirect evidence of the coming decline of Saudi oil production.

He relates the history of oil production in the US and elsewhere, the place Saudi Arabia has taken in stabilizing the world oil system, the beliefs and assumptions about the world's oil system, the incredible benefit we have lucked into with oil. All oil fields eventually attain a peak in production, peaking that is followed by a long decline. Sometimes the decline in production is steep.

OPEC is secretive about its oil reserves, actual production rates and possible production rates. The world has depended on Saudi Aramco to stabilize the oil system. Oil traders have been unquestioning in the ability of Saudi Arabia to produce limitless oil.When it can no longer, who knows what will happen to the price and production of oil.

He reads between the lines of the reports about the Saudi Aramco fields and is clearly of the impression that they are near (perhaps past?) their peak of production and that will be followed by an eventual decline.

It is in our interest to maintain some order - Saudi Arabia is an important stabilizer of the oil system and in the middle east.

He lays out his evidence in exhaustive detail; perhaps too much for some.

The only failing of the book, to me, is a somewhat weak last section where he indicates the next logical question - how do we get off oil under our control? As he indicates here, most of the proposed alternative solutions are not viable.

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3

Jan 19, 2010

It is abundantly clear from Simmons's book that he has written from years and years of study and experience in the oil industry. The book makes big strides in trying to corroborate that global oil reserves and production, Saudi Arabia in particular, are near an inflection point.

Simmons is nearly obsessed with this idea of peak oil and its consequences. This obsession and search for the truth of the matter lends some credibility to his work however, I get concerned that his passion and It is abundantly clear from Simmons's book that he has written from years and years of study and experience in the oil industry. The book makes big strides in trying to corroborate that global oil reserves and production, Saudi Arabia in particular, are near an inflection point.

Simmons is nearly obsessed with this idea of peak oil and its consequences. This obsession and search for the truth of the matter lends some credibility to his work however, I get concerned that his passion and commitment to his views stimies other ideas. For example, he largly ignores the idea of continually improving technology.

The technical parts of the book were difficult for me. These part were almost more suited for someone from a company like Schumberger or someone with a petroleum engineering degree. But most of the book was appropriate for any audience.

The three parts of the book that will long resonate with me is 1) the fact that once a field peaks, it declines at rates MUCH faster than its march to peak production. i.e. field production profiles are not bell curve shaped; They drop off very fast once they peak. 2) The copious water requirements for oil porduction and 3) If Saudi Arabia is going to function securely and comfortably in 2010 and beyond and continue to sustain its level of oil production, it must find and develop massive amounts of natural gas for power and water production (p260).

I think there is a decent chance that by the middle of this new decade, Simmons might be saying, "I told you so" when crunch time comes. ...more
5

Jun 29, 2015

This book answers everything about oil that you need to know. The Author (Energy adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations, Founder of Simmons & Company International, Founder of the Ocean Energy Institute in Maine) does a great job of presenting information from a subject matter expert’s point of view and makes the discussion on oil easy for the average person to understand. I liked the fact that the book is an This book answers everything about oil that you need to know. The Author (Energy adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations, Founder of Simmons & Company International, Founder of the Ocean Energy Institute in Maine) does a great job of presenting information from a subject matter expert’s point of view and makes the discussion on oil easy for the average person to understand. I liked the fact that the book is an unbiased look at oil from oil in the ground to production refinement to your home. Mr. Simmons shows from his work in this book that he cares about the facts and he does a great job in presenting these facts to his readers. Every claim he mentions he has a source to back up his claims. Mr. Simmons has everything to lose from peak oil (his company Simmons & Company International is one of the largest and most experienced independent investment banks specializing in the energy industry, offering M&A advisory, capital markets execution and investment research.) so for a man of his credentials to come forth and make these facts known is huge. Anyone who has an interest in energy, energy policy, or our future as a society in general should read this book! It’s no longer about oil or energy it’s about our future!

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4

Oct 08, 2008

So far, very interesting. I am currently reading about the formation of Saudi Arabia and never knew that FDR met with King Abdul Aziz who was also in a wheelchair. The photo included is a powerful statement on the strengths of people with movement disabilities. The discussions on the levels of oil in the world has been interesting and with the fluctuations of the price of oil these days, it is crazy to think that a barrel of oil was 10 cents during the great depression...

Ok finished. The middle So far, very interesting. I am currently reading about the formation of Saudi Arabia and never knew that FDR met with King Abdul Aziz who was also in a wheelchair. The photo included is a powerful statement on the strengths of people with movement disabilities. The discussions on the levels of oil in the world has been interesting and with the fluctuations of the price of oil these days, it is crazy to think that a barrel of oil was 10 cents during the great depression...

Ok finished. The middle of this book is full of important information about each individual area of exploration in Saudi Arabia, but sometimes, it is a bit over-kill. Would like a glossary at the book's end for key terms (sometimes he is redundant; other times, I'd have to back read to find the translation of the acronyms.

Honestly, when I started this book, I was very captivated and it read fairly quickly. However, once the holidays started, I found it very hard to find time (and energy) to read this book.

It is a very good book, but be sure to devote enough time at each reading sitting to really get though it. ...more
5

Nov 14, 2007

Full disclosure: I spent over a year working with the author to turn his manuscript into a publishable book, so naturally I think it's pretty good. The book is based on a review of some 250 technical papers on Saudi Arabia's oil fields contained in the e-library of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The papers detail the kinds of challenges the Saudis are having to deal with as they attempt to maintain or increase their oil production. The book takes a skeptical position on Saudi claims to be Full disclosure: I spent over a year working with the author to turn his manuscript into a publishable book, so naturally I think it's pretty good. The book is based on a review of some 250 technical papers on Saudi Arabia's oil fields contained in the e-library of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The papers detail the kinds of challenges the Saudis are having to deal with as they attempt to maintain or increase their oil production. The book takes a skeptical position on Saudi claims to be able to increase their production by 50% or more and maintain it at high levels for decades. The author sides with the view that world oil production is at or very near its peak and that scarcity in now a permanent condition in oil markets. The implications of this situation are dire. What does it mean for the general U.S. reader? If you don't want to spend an increasing portion of your income on gasoline, buy a fuel-efficient vehicle or get used to public transport.
...more
4

Jun 25, 2009

This book is a wakeup call. The thesis is that the era of cheap oil in which we have grown up is about to end. The chief culprits are the Saudis who are lying about their capacity to maintain their production of oil and exaggerating their proven reserves. The result will be a profound shock to the world economy unless we take immediate steps to reduce demand for oil. Most of the book is a field by field analysis of oil production in Saudi Arabia. A glossary and acronym list would have been This book is a wakeup call. The thesis is that the era of cheap oil in which we have grown up is about to end. The chief culprits are the Saudis who are lying about their capacity to maintain their production of oil and exaggerating their proven reserves. The result will be a profound shock to the world economy unless we take immediate steps to reduce demand for oil. Most of the book is a field by field analysis of oil production in Saudi Arabia. A glossary and acronym list would have been helpful for non-experts like me. Also, another chapter or two on what the coming shortfall in oil supply will mean to the world economy would have been helpful. Perhaps a sequel is indicated. ...more
4

Jul 28, 2011

This book gives a good insider perspective about what the oilfields and related processing plants are like in Saudi. As one who has worked with ARAMCO in some commodities trades, this is an accurate insight for the most part. Overall a pretty good book but Simmons seems to overlook the upcoming technologies and their impact in extracting the abandoned oil from the ground and rock. Purely from the aspect of what is conventional, this book works, but from the aspect of what is out of the box, this This book gives a good insider perspective about what the oilfields and related processing plants are like in Saudi. As one who has worked with ARAMCO in some commodities trades, this is an accurate insight for the most part. Overall a pretty good book but Simmons seems to overlook the upcoming technologies and their impact in extracting the abandoned oil from the ground and rock. Purely from the aspect of what is conventional, this book works, but from the aspect of what is out of the box, this book falls short. ...more
4

Oct 06, 2011

A very well researched argument that manages to stay impartial in presentation. A lot of research has gone into this book, including hundreds of papers approved by ARAMCO representatives. Simmons has managed to communicate the facts at both a dumbed down level, and in a more descriptive manner for those who are familiar with oil reservoir work, ensuring that this is readable at any level. A definite recommendation for anyone concerned about the current state of the economy and the heightened A very well researched argument that manages to stay impartial in presentation. A lot of research has gone into this book, including hundreds of papers approved by ARAMCO representatives. Simmons has managed to communicate the facts at both a dumbed down level, and in a more descriptive manner for those who are familiar with oil reservoir work, ensuring that this is readable at any level. A definite recommendation for anyone concerned about the current state of the economy and the heightened focus on the environment in recent decades ...more
4

Jan 09, 2009

Maybe the central work dealing with the idea of peak oil being reached in the global liquid fuels market.

Saudi Arabia being one of the few nations which keeps its books closed on it's oil reserves, Matt found that he could survey the hundreds of engineering reports of consultants who had worked for Saudi Aramco to get clues as to the true nature of Saudi Oil Reserves.

His conclusion is that the aging super giant oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are on the wane, and becoming more difficult and Maybe the central work dealing with the idea of peak oil being reached in the global liquid fuels market.

Saudi Arabia being one of the few nations which keeps its books closed on it's oil reserves, Matt found that he could survey the hundreds of engineering reports of consultants who had worked for Saudi Aramco to get clues as to the true nature of Saudi Oil Reserves.

His conclusion is that the aging super giant oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are on the wane, and becoming more difficult and expensive to develop. ...more
4

Feb 05, 2008

Reading this book in public made me feel slightly like a conspiracy theorist, but it truly is the easiest way to understand what is going on in Saudi Arabia as well as right here in our little town of Farmington. I have no knowledge of how the oil industry works, but after reading this book, I feel like I can now make educated and informed decisions regarding where I buy my gasoline, and where it comes from.
5

Feb 25, 2008

Whoa. Talk about shedding some light on a murky energy situation. This is a must read to understand the global oil supply/demand. This will shift your thinking about what is really out there and what the long term energy solution for the US/World is. The book can be very technical at times. Some knowledge of oil and gas terminology is recommended. Good article on Simmons and his theories in February 2008 Texas Monthly.
4

Aug 21, 2016

A great non-technical book combining the technical & economical aspects, giving important insights into the Saudi Oil Kingdom, which has been an clandestine affair. The book highlights a very comprehensive research done by Matthew R.Simmons, bringing out the Facts & Figure pertaining to saudi gaint & supergaint Oil fields whilst uncovering the underlying problems that have for long put the kingdom's dominant position & future in the global oil market at stake.
2

Jul 22, 2010

the peak oil theorist's bible. simmons presents hard-to-refute historical, statistical and geological evidence arguing that oil production cannot expand indefinitely to meet the demands of a growing world, and that the largest producer of oil (Saudi) has dramatically overstated their reserves, and that their production may already be in decline. the theory is compelling but he lays it out in the first 50 pages, the rest is a relatively dry supporting evidence.
4

Feb 05, 2015

Very interesting book, 4 stars and not 5 because i needed more than speculations. The books is full of astonishing facts regarding saudi oil - and the world reserve by relation- but for some unfathomable reasons the saudis are keeping silence or worse they exaggerate the figures, just to secure the easy digested myth about almost infinte oil!?
Frankly i can never understand the reasons behind this secrecy.

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