Hava's Reviews > Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy

Twilight in the Desert by Matthew R. Simmons
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's review
Jul 13, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: depressing-books, middle-eastern-book, nonfiction-books
Recommended to Hava by: documentarys on peak oil
Recommended for: anyone who doesn't think peak oil is real
Read from July 11 to 13, 2011 , read count: 1

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?

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