Middle East Petroleum: Arabian Nights come alive


Middle East Petroleum:
................................................................Arabian Nights come alive

-Essaying facts, fiction and fantasy to underscore the interests and
machinations of various players in inflating the oil prices –
by Brij Khar

A must read for:
• Hard hit consumer’s World over
• Beneficiaries of current boom time
• Everyone in the Oil & Gas Industry

Published by: Brij M. Khar
For ‘Vichar Publications’
Vichar Kutir, 26-Pleasant Valley,
Rajpur, Dehradun-248009, India
Copyrights © reserved with the author ‘Brij Khar’
Edition: 2008

Author: Brij M Khar,
Language: English
Price:  INR 250/-; US$ 10/-
Printed at: Saraswati Press, 2- Green Park, Dehradun-248001, India
NATRAJ Publishers, 17-Rajpur Road, Dehradun-248001, India
email:natrajbooks@vsnl.com; natrajbooks@gmail.com
Ph: 91-135-2653382/ 2654584, Fax : 91-135-2749914/2749560




1. The ‘Jinni’ from ‘Arabian Nights’

2. ‘Sim-Sim’ and ‘Morgiana’

3. Golden Glitter and the Black Gold

4. The Gluttonous ‘Uncle Sam’

5. Tigris Tiger on Prowl

6. Mercantile of York

7. Exporters, Importers and Imposters

8. Beyond Petroleum



Exactly a century ago, when oil gushed on 26th May 1908 from the Masjid-i-Suleiman discovery well (of the then British operated Anglo-Iranian Oil company) in south Persia, no one had any idea of the Middle East’s then unknown crude oil & natural gas potential, let alone the foresight to predict that this region would in course of time, emerge as the world’s largest provider of the most efficient natural energy resource, critical for growth and sustenance of the global economy particularly in developed and developing countries.

As a petroleum province, endowed with excellent petroleum generation-migration-entrapment cycle conditions in geological time (well researched and documented), the Middle East today has the unique distinction of holding more than half of the world’s proved oil & gas reserves (Oil: 61 %; Gas: 41.3% ; British Petroleum -BP- Statistical Review of World Energy June 2008).

Many pundits and pedestrians alike (including some in the petroleum industry) would have us believe that “Oil is where ‘Allah’ is”. While that in sheer petroleum statistics terms and individual or collective faith may or may not be true, it is essential to recall that Allah is everywhere and so are his subjects in our world, but the petroleum habitat isn’t so.

Notwithstanding the unprecedented quickening pace of scientific discoveries and technological innovations and breakthroughs witnessed since World War I, a viable alternative to oil & gas as an efficient energy resource doesn’t seem to be round the corner. With current crude oil prices hovering well above US$ 100/- per barrel, almost five times of what they were for nearly two decades, following the collapse of oil prices in 1986, the economies of both developed and developing nations continue to be caught in the quagmire of escalating demand, curtailed supply and inflated prices that are driven not so much by current or emerging demand-supply scenarios and economics of petroleum exploration & production (oil prices around US$ 50/- per barrel on-land or offshore in general, still being a sound commercial proposition), but more by speculators/beneficiaries /cartels and politics of the Middle East and Western World.

It is interesting to recall that centuries before oil was discovered in Middle East, fortuitous acquisition of windfall bonanza, wealth and prosperity formed the key aspect of folklore and storytelling as vividly described in the famous tales of Arabian Nights, where the mythological Jinni performs miraculous acts of wealth creation to what have you in a matter of seconds. While this arguably and truly is indeed a figment of an imaginative and intelligent mind, it is striking that many parts of Middle East today look like the pages from these fairy tales in terms of wealth and splendour, unlike what they were for centuries before oil & gas discoveries. The fact that this wealth and prosperity, primarily from oil & gas resources, have come with lesser effort in relative comparison to other developed or developing regions of the world, makes it all the more striking and tempting to fantasise the fabulous Middle East crude oil & natural gas resources and attendant riches, particularly at the current inflated prices as a handiwork of Jinni from Arabian Nights.

This book while amusingly fantasying the return of Jinni and coming alive of Arabian Nights fable, underscores the interests and machinations of various players (real or perceived) in pushing current petroleum prices beyond the pale of crystal gazers and proselytises, those involved directly or indirectly in inflating the oil prices. It is also an attempt by the author as someone from the petroleum industry, to highlight the undercurrents that loom large like a Sword of Damocles on the heads of many net oil-importing countries particularly from the developing world, in as much as it strikes at the very fundamentals and foundations of their painstaking and steady march to an all round growth, prosperity and peace.

About the Author: Brij Khar
*Born 1944 in Kashmir -of the then undivided India- ‘Brij’ comes from a family of Khar’s who for generations lived in a suburban part of Kashmir’s capital city ‘Srinagar’, in a hamlet called ‘VicharNag’ (close to where the prestigious ‘Sher-i-Kashmir National Medical Institute’ stands today). The family for various reasons moved over to interiors of the capital city located on either side of river ‘Jehlum or Veth’, where ‘Brij’ was born, raised and received his school/college education. The valley’s enchanting landscape, folklore, frequent countryside sojourns -‘VicharNag’ included-, Kashmir’s distinct brand of composite culture manifested in mutual accommodation/tolerance and catholicity (as prevalent then) and teachers like the well known Kashmiri Philosopher-Poet ‘Nadim’ left an inedible mark on his impressionable mind during early and teenage years.

‘Brij’ received his higher education at Punjab University, Chandigarh where he obtained a Masters in Geology with distinction. He worked for India’s premier oil company ‘ONGC’ for almost four decades before separating as Executive Director on superannuation. A freelancer now, his interests besides Petroleum Industry & Earth Sciences include Writing, Knowledge, Technology and Health issues. Widely travelled he now lives mostly in the sub-Himalayan Doon valley.
‘Brij’ can be reached on brij.khar@gmail.com

On the anvil……………by the same author
“From dawn of Planet Earth To rise of Human Civilisations”
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Congratulations, respected Khar Sahib for your book.
Added By Chander M. Bhat
Congratulations Brij Khar ji for writing this informative and detailed book.
Added By Rita Kaul