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

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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. Aug 30, Phil rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction.

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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.


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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 it 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.

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. 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 's or earlier with no major discoveries since similar to the rest of the world.

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. 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. View all 3 comments. Jul 13, Hava rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't think peak oil is real. Shelves: depressing-books , nonfiction-books , middle-eastern-book.

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 th I cannot stress how important I think this book is. 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.

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And as one of the documentarys that I watched said, "If Saudi Arabia has peaked, the world has peaked. 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. 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.

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

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. All of that repetition is a blessing in disguise. I only wish there was an updated edition!! Simmons, any plans for such a book to be released? Shelves: non-fiction. 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 pr 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.

Peak Oil Book Review: Twilight in the Desert

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. 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. Shelves: current-affairs. 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?

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?

Twilight in the Desert - Wikipedia

As he indicates here, most of the proposed alternative solutions are not viable. 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 commitmen It is abundantly clear from Simmons's book that he has written from years and years of study and experience in the oil industry. 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.


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