Thursday, July 3, 2008
Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock And the World Economy / Matthew Simmons -- Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.
Twilight in the Desert probably only deserves three stars for its literary merits, but I gave it an extra star for the importance of its main theme. Author Matthew Simmons argues that based on his study of papers of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Saudi oil production is at or close to its peak. When this happens, world oil production will also peak. The economic consequences are hard to predict, but they will be profound and in all likelihood quite negative. Fortunately, some government and industry decision makers are beginning to heed Simmon's arguments. The main debates now seem to be how soon the peak will come and how sharp the decline will be. In the last paragraph, Simmons optimistically suggests that peak oil may be the oportunity to remake our society in a more benign and humane form. We can only hope. In the meantime, I'm training myself to enjoy life on a low energy budget.