28 March, 2007

Oil, Power & Money

Want to know all that one must about Oil? Its history, quest and the power games behind all that? Then read The Price by Daniel Yergin. 'The Price' is superbly written, prophetic and very well researched. Once you start reading it, you will find it very hard to stop. It's a thick book; I have read it at a fast pace - once. I would love to have time to read it again.

"The Prize traces the history of oil from its humble, entrepreneurial beginnings in the hillsides of western Pennsylvania, to the shrewd domination of the industry by John D. Rockefeller, to the breakup of Standard Oil, and through the discovery of oil in the farthest flung corners of the globe. Part of Yergin's history is something of a tragedy: the gradual seizure of oil from the voyagers who discovered it by national governments who were able to use their seizures to threaten the West during the 1973 oil shock and beyond. In this one very big instance, third world governments really did take on multinational corporations -- and defeated them.

Yergin chronicles how oil went from a freewheeling business of refiners and speculators to an instrument of great geopolitical importance, one where nation-states played at least as great a role in shaping the industry as the oil companies did. In this transition, anything could -- and did -- happen. Rock bottom prices threatened the survival of oil producers one year, and sky-high prices forced drastic changes in consumer behavior the next (indeed, "The Prize" does give one a crystal-clear view of the price mechanism). Nightmare scenarios involving the political manipulation of oil did indeed come to pass in 1973, in 1979, and during the Gulf War. There is no shortage of high drama throughout this story."

And from Google Books: Now with a new epilogue that speaks directly to the current energy crisis, The Prize recounts the panoramic history of the world's most important resource: oil. Daniel Yergin's timeless book chronicles the struggle for wealth and power that has surrounded oil for decades and that continues to fuel global rivalries, shake the world economy, and transform the destiny of men and nations. This updated edition categorically proves the unwavering significance of oil throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first by tracing economic and political clashes over precious "black gold."

With his far-reaching insight and in-depth research, Yergin is uniquely positioned to address the present battle over energy, which undoubtedly ranks as one of the most vital issues of our time. The canvas of his narrative history is enormous -- from the drilling of the first well in Pennsylvania through two great world wars to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm, and now both the Iraq War and climate change. The definitive work on the subject of oil, The Prize is a book of extraordinary breadth, riveting excitement, and great value -- crucial to our understanding of world politics and the economy today -- and tomorrow.