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

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  454 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
"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 ...more
Paperback, 428 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by John Wiley & Sons (first published June 10th 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 897)
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John Nelson
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
Jim Turner
Dec 17, 2012 Jim Turner rated it really liked it
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
Nov 02, 2015 Ryan rated it liked it
Shelves: environment
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 ...more
Jan 21, 2010 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Timothy Fitzgerald
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 h
May 19, 2009 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in living through the next five years
Recommended to Peter by: Matthew Simmons, interview on TVO
Shelves: current-affairs
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 th
Jun 05, 2013 Iliyana rated it it was amazing
В някои сайтове се твърди, че британската тайна разузнавателна служба SIS (известна повече като МИ6) и по специално "хит екипа" им стои зад убийството на Матю Симънс (снимката в ляво), който е един от най-добрите американски експерти по петрола и е най-яростния критик на САЩ относно работа на Бритиш Петролеум в Мексиканския залив.

Според тези източници, убийството на Симънс е наредено от шефа на SIS Джон Соърс след срещата му с топ британски бизнесмени, които предупредиха, че продължаващото поев
Jul 13, 2011 Hava rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't think peak oil is real
Recommended to Hava by: documentarys on peak oil
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 ...more
Dec 30, 2008 Kristina rated it really liked it
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
Mike S
Dec 12, 2007 Mike S rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Saudi history, Peak Oil, or how water/gas injection increases oil well output
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
Sep 03, 2007 Phil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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 it ...more
Chuck McCabe
Nov 15, 2007 Chuck McCabe rated it it was amazing
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 a ...more
John Kaufmann
May 22, 2015 John Kaufmann rated it really liked it
Shelves: energy
A critical look at the Saudi oil supply picture from a Houston oil investment banker. Great information challenging assumptions that the supply picture is as rosy as the government and media (and the Saudis) would have us believe. But fairly advanced.
Mar 04, 2010 Billy rated it really liked it
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 helpf ...more
Paul Baxter
Oct 06, 2011 Paul Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 foc ...more
Jan 09, 2009 JJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 expensi
Michael Duane  Robbins
We're f---ed.
Michael Weaver
Jul 28, 2011 Michael Weaver rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 22, 2010 John rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 25, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 05, 2008 Shelby rated it really liked it
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.
Tamer Alshazly
Apr 08, 2015 Tamer Alshazly rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 08, 2008 Todd is currently reading it
Just getting into it. I"m not sure i really need to read it since I've heard the basic conclusion already in an interview. Essentially, the point of the book is that we have reached the peak in oil output and are only going to go downhill from here. This is why I plan to invest a chunk in oil. In the long-run, the price can only go up. It's about as sure of a thing as you'll find these days.
Aug 19, 2007 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in Saudi Arabian oil production
This is an incredibly informative book. Maybe too informative. At 450 pages, it's a bit of a slog to get through such dense material, but, when you're done, you can't say you didn't learn something. Simmons paints a pretty bleak picture, but does a pretty good job of supporting his assertions. It would probably be more enjoyable to read a condensed version of this book.
Jul 26, 2007 Kevin rated it liked it
Not the most entertaining read, but filled with technical knowledge about the complex process of finding and drilling oil, as well as some informative background on the politics of OPEC and Saudi Arabia. In particular, I liked the perspective it offered on the motivations behind Saudi Arabia's decision making.
It was interesting being introduced to a new industry and set of rules for the very first time. I thought matthew simmons did a great job analyzing the problem and delivering his predictions. However, it would have been great to see him live to write another book in ten years.
Feb 01, 2008 Tommy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ecointelligence
Simmons is the real deal. Having worked as a consultant with Aramco (Saudi Arabia's national oil co.) he had access to tons of documents that showed that some of the megafields of oil are truly in danger of peaking in production very soon, if not already. Excellent book.
Jun 15, 2011 Kristy rated it really liked it
Good review of the history of Saudi oil, but not written very tightly. Could have been shortened by about 25% if the author didn't repeat information several times. Overall, I would recommend for anyone interested in the oil industry and future availability of hydrocarbons.
James O'donoghue
Aug 05, 2015 James O'donoghue rated it it was ok
Love it. Matt Simmons is a peak oil poster boy but he's got tons of data and geological gibberish to back his claims. Much of the book casts doubt on Saudi's stated reserves and gives plenty of cause for grave concern.
Feb 12, 2008 Alex rated it really liked it
Tons (and tons and tons and tons) of data, painstakingly researched, exhaustively presented. Really well done, though, to eliminate any chance of the "We'll have oil forever" crowd of poking their usual holes in the idea.
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