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

ISBN: 978-0-471-79018-1
464 pages
June 2006
Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy (0471790184) cover image
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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Illustrations ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xxi

PART ONE FROM BEDOUIN TO BOURGEOISIE 1

1 The Birth of a Nation 5

2 The History of Major Saudi Arabian Oil Discoveries 23

3 Saudi Arabia's Road to Oil Market Dominance 43

4 The Veil of Secrecy over Saudi Oil Reserves and Production 69

PART TWO THE EBBING OF THE SAUDI OIL BOUNTY 99

5 Saudi Aramco 101

6 Oil Is Not Just Another Commodity 129

PART THREE GIANTS AT THE TIPPING POINT 149

7 Ghawar, the King of Oilfields 151

8 The Second-Tier Oilfields 181

9 The Best of the Rest 199

10 Coming Up Empty in New Exploration 231

11 Turning to Natural Gas 245

PART FOUR TWILIGHT IN THE DESERT 261

12 Saudi Oil Reserves Claims in Doubt 265

13 Facing the Inevitable 281

14 Reading Between the Lines of the Latest News from Aramco 309

15 Aramco Invokes "Fuzzy Logic" to Manage the Future of Saudi Oil 325

16 In Search of Crisper Truths among the Confident Saudi Claims 333

17 Aftermath 341

Appendix A Methodology 355

Appendix B Supporting Technical Data 365

Appendix C The 1974 and 1979 Senate Hearings 377

Notes 385

Bibliography 391

Index 409

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MATTHEW R. SIMMONS is Chairman of Simmons & Company International, a Houston-based investment bank that specializes in the energy industry. He now focuses on research, writing, and speaking engagements. Last year, he gave seventy-five speeches to a variety of groups, including energy industry conferences, university symposiums, and think tanks. Mr. Simmons is a member of the National Petroleum Council, a board member of Resources for the Future, and a Trustee of The Atlantic Council of the United States. He has an MBA from Harvard University.
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Compelling analysis by an energy industry insider who speaks regularly on the topic to industry groups, think tanks, and the news media.  Recently profiled in Barron’s.

Very well-documented and favorably reviewed by a variety of creditable petroleum engineers, oil industry experts, and bestselling authors.

Exploding interest in author’s analysis as evidenced by a recent profile on author in Barron’s, a massive increase in his company’s web traffic and numerous requests for media interviews and speaking engagements. The author’s website www.simmonsco-intl.com received 6 million hits and 30,000 downloads of  material about Saudi oil resources in 2004.

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"...this is an important book and worth reading" (The Royal Society for Asian Affairs, April 2006)

"The author...is clearly an expert in his field…I recommend anybody in the financial markets read this book." (Financial Engineering News, October 2006)

"Those who follow with their own tales of imminent economic collapse struggle to emerge from [Simmons'] shadow." (Spectator Business, October, 2008)

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