Insights - Energy Dais

7 books which every Oil & gas industry professional must read

Books are our constant companions. We tend to find answers of the most complex situations in the timeless wisdom of majestic pieces of literature. It is difficult to imagine a day or a crisis situation where we won’t adhere to the wise advises by the stalwarts who walked the surface of the earth and left their rich experiences in the form of books as their legacy.

Either personally or professionally, one must go for reading a book which is full of both, tangible and intangible help that can ease the problem(s) we’re facing or provide the required courage to face them. Belonging to an industry (Oil and Gas) which has a unique history of its own, we feel that it is important to suggest some books which might be of great help for any and every direct or indirect stakeholder of the oil and gas industry.

1. The Prize: The Epic quest for Oil, Money and power by Daniel Yergin:

This Pulitzer Prize winning book narrates the story and growth of petroleum industry from 1850s to 1990s. Written with authority, this book explains the development of oil fields and especially when this was an integral part of various countries’ strategy in WWII. A must read for anyone who is willing to learn about the industry from the scratch.

2. The Greatest Gamblers: The Epic of American Oil exploration by Ruth Sheldon Knowles:

Taking us through the Pennsylvanian oil bloom (the beginning of oil drilling by Col. Drake in Titusville) to the analogy of Oil business with ‘Gambling’, this book is an interesting account of American Oil exploration. The author, Ruth Sheldon Knowles, demands your complete attention when he claims that, “Oil, is the most hazardous, expensive, heart-breaking gambling game in the world,” along with the supporting arguments.  In the contemporary shale boom scenario, we strongly recommend every undergraduate to read this for gaining valuable insights into the American Oil industry.

3. Abu Dhabi: Oil & beyond (Power & Politics in the gulf) by Christopher Davidson:

What makes us read about Abu Dhabi? Here’s a simple answer, it owns 8% of world’s oil reserves. And that’s more than sufficient for any oil business magnate to switch his/her attention to learn about the in and out of political and business environment of the city. Christopher Davidson, who is a reader in Middle East Politics, deftly traces the development of coming-of-age narrative of the city, Abu Dhabi and how the power equation, or Sheikhdom, the colloquial term for Middle East politics, regulated and dominated the oil market.

4. Oil & Gas production in non-technical language by Martin S. Raymond & William L. Leffle:

A book which is for all. It can appeal to the undergraduate students pursuing a course in engineering, an accountant in Oil and Gas industry, salesperson or anyone who seems interested in the topic. If you’re willing to learn the ‘know-how’ of the Oil and Gas production in a simple and lucid language, then this is the book which you should pick!

5. The history of the Standard Oil Company by Ida M. Tarbell:

A muckraker of its time, released in 1904, this book presents an investigative account of the history of Standard Oil, a Rockefeller enterprise, which almost monopolised the oil market in the U.S. Originally published in series in McClure’s magazine for which Ida (author, journalist) used to work, and this work exposed Standard Oil’s violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. It’s an interesting read. Being an investigative work, it is an absolute page-turner of a book.

6. The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia changed the balance of power in the middle east by Andrew Scott Cooper:

Andrew Scott Cooper, with the help of declassified documents, tapes and records, establishes how Nixon, Kissinger, Ford, CIA, Saudi’s Royal Family, ‘influential’ Iranian leaders collectively impacted, as the book’s title reveals, ‘the balance of power in the middle east.’ The book is not only about  prevailing power politics but it is also brimming with disclosures hidden in it. It talks about the money laundering from Iran to support Nixon’s Watergate; corporate empire fixing and how the 1975 Algiers agreement affected political establishment in the Middle East. In a nutshell, prepare yourself for heavy politically controversial disclosures in this book.

7. Oil! By Upton Sinclair:

Remember, There will be blood? The movie is loosely based on this 1927 classic by Upton Sinclair which is a tale of a self-made millionaire father and his socialist son. There remains hidden in this political account, the class warfare, bribery, administrative rifts and revelation of the son that his father’s business employs unethical methods. The socialist son’s rift with a business minded father makes it a yet another interesting read.

We hope that this selective list of recommendations might turn out to be a great help. As we know that you have your personal favourites, it would be great to learn your suggestions as well. Have a great year ahead.

Happy Reading!

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