THIS book looks at the kaleidoscopic international circumstances of an industry in course of change: it is of necessity impressionistic and selective. For ease of reading, I have avoided footnotes and kept tables within the text to a minimum; but a short bibliography, a few maps and charts, and some pages of salient statistics about oil are appended.
For current detail I have depended heavily upon the industry's outstanding trade journals -- the Petroleum Press Service and Petroleum Times in Britain; the Oil and Gas Journal, World Petroleum and the late Petroleum Week in the United States: Petrole Informations in France. I have used figures of petroleum both in the terminology of 'tons a year' that is often used on this side of the Atlantic, and that of 'barrels a day' that is used almost invariably in the United States and Middle East. In the simple rule of thumb of the trade, a barrel of oil a day roughly equals 50 tons of oil a year.
My personal acknowledgments are legion. Any understanding of the oil industry in the pages that follow has been gained from the extraordinarily patient explanation of friends in the companies, the governments, and among the consultants and commentators who serve the industry: I am indebted to them for hospitality, time, and argument. But the book is not sponsored by any company, government, or other interest: and its conclusions are entirely my own. Any understanding of business behaviour in general that I have been able to bring to this business has been gained in the service and the companionship of The Economist newspaper.
The mistakes may be legion too. Only those are wholly mine.