A Review of "Oil 101" by Morgan Downey

I read a lot of books. (A quick measure comes up with more than 10 ft of shelf space filled with books relating to the topic of peak oil and alternate fuels – not counting the books that deal with drilling and other aspects of technology that relate more to my day job). Some of these are quite expensive. Jean Grove’s book that I have recently been quoting, is now discounted to around $350, and several of the alternate fuels books are well over $100. But price doesn't mean necessarily useful and of my collection only 8 books sit on my desk. Today I added another to that rather select group. It is Morgan Downey’s “Oil 101”. It sits on my desk, not because it gives me a lot of the in-depth detail that many of the stories that I write require, but rather it is because it has a vast reservoir of the small, but invaluable, snippets that provide that useful addenda that help in understanding a story. It is, I suppose, in the format of the book I would have written if I had tied together the Tech Talk series.

It differs from them, however, both in being focused not just on oil, but also in explaining more of the financial matters that play such a significant part in the price we pay for oil and thereafter for the gas that goes into the tank. The book gives enough explanation of the overall oil production business to be highly useful, without the greater detail that would, on campus, require a second, more detailed course in any one of the component parts.

Anyone dropping into the discussions at The Oil Drum or Bit Tooth Energy arrives in the midst of a group that has, as a general observation, some underlying knowledge of oil, what it is, where it is found, how it is extracted, refined and then marketed. Because these sites have evolved, over time, as the audience has grown, so, while there are occasional explanatory pieces, in the main the knowledge becomes more and more assumed. But if you don’t know, for example, the relative production rates of the OPEC nations, relative to the producers outside OPEC, or even which countries are which, it becomes more difficult to follow the discussion. For those of you who fall into this category, this is the sort of book that is really useful. Because, without going into a lot of detail, it is that level of information that fills its pages. The information is given in tables, and with lots of pictures. (Small caveat – while small pictures work well on a Web site where they can be increased in size, they don’t work well at all in a book, where it is hard sometimes to make out what the picture is trying to show).

The book follows the pattern of oil starting with what types there are, how it was formed and where it is found. It explains with a couple of simple pictures the concept of the kerogen, oil and gas windows and then goes on to explain, from the rock formations in which it is found, how the oil and gas can be recovered. Given the amount of material that the book covers, the specific detail on any one process is sparse, but with the underlying knowledge that is provided, it then becomes possible for example, to follow a more detailed description of the steps that are taken in trying to improve production from a well driven into a shale gas field, or why we are interested in the relative production rates and lifetimes of horizontal and vertical wells.

This is useful not just to the neophyte. Just the other day when I was writing a piece on the future price of oil, I wanted to know the current percentage of world production that OPEC produced and bingo, there on Figure 5.4 was the number, 43%. The story went on to look at the demand for petroleum products as it fluctuates over the year, and there again was Figure 13.2, showing the fluctuation in vehicle miles driven, by month. (Being me, I then went back to the source he cited to get the current data, but it barely differed from what Morgan Downey had written).

The production of oil is shifting to the use of heavier, and sourer crudes. This will impact refinery use, construction and re-construction and the book provides an underlying appreciation for what we write about to explain why, for example, Saudi Arabia needs to build a new refinery to process the oil from the Manifa field. At the level of basic understanding (the role of a 101 course), there is enough information in this book to gather how a refinery works, and, again, to then be able to understand some of the more erudite parts of the discussion on refinery use or by Robert Rapier on gas prices.

While providing some background to the debate on current world oil reserve calculations, he does not take a specific position within it. Given the nature of the debate, that is perhaps wise. In a perhaps more prescient mode, he ends the book with chapters on the effect of regulation (a very likely new thrust by an Administration stocked with those who look favorably on the California experience) and on oil price and how the oil market works.

If I wanted to pick a nit or two, he did miss the recent change in the SEC rules (pdf) defining proved reserves, but then if he hadn’t maybe there would have been less of a role for the rest of us to play. It also only happened this last month, and while this book is almost that up to date, it is not quite. Yet a lot of the information is relatively timeless. And it would, moreover, be straining to find criticism for what is meant to provide only an underlying level of knowledge to the game. As it is, there is enough information provided that it will help me remember facts and sources, and thus to explain issues in a fundamental way, so that the book will stay on my desk, and start to look as worn as some of the others.

Based on your review, the book seems a bit on the lite side; how does it stack up against some of the yardsticks of Peak Oil, such as "Twilight in the Desert"?

You need different kinds of books for different purposes. This isn't intended to be a peak oil book. It is intended to help people understand oil background.

Matt Simmons book is groundbreaking, but it isn't a general reference book.

It is like comparing a book on physics text book with a how-to solar passive book. Both can be very good, but in different ways.

I see that on Amazon, Twilight in the Desert has a four-star rating. Oil 101 doesn't have as many ratings yet, but so far has a five-star rating.

As Gail said, and I tried to point out, this isn't a book of intense detail, and does not go into the geology of the oilfields as does, for example, "Twilight in the Desert." but from the point of view of someone who doesn't know what an anticline is, it explains what it is and why it is important, so that you can then go and read TITD and understand a lot more of what is in it.

Funny story about this book. My London office contacted me the other day and said I had a package. I told them I wasn't expecting a package, and asked who it was from. "Morgan Downey." I said that I wasn't sure who that was, so I Googled the name: Morgan Downey, J.D. is the first Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Obesity Association

I was bewildered, so I asked them to open it. Inside was Oil 101 and a note from Morgan Downey (not the obesity doctor), who indicated that he reads The Oil Drum and wanted me to have a copy of his new book. I am in London in a couple of weeks, and I will pick it up then and start reading it on my flight home. As always, when someone sends me a free book, I will post a review.

This Morgan Downey is not the obese one: as quoted in this Barron's article, http://online.barrons.com/article/SB123456959907586185.html?mod=googlene...

"Now there's more spare capacity in the global refinery system, and demand has fallen, so those [product-futures] spreads can revert" to more normal patterns, says Morgan Downey, head of Americas commodities trading at Standard Chartered Bank in New York.

from the point of view of someone who doesn't know what an anticline is, it explains what it is and why it is important, so that you can then go and read TITD and understand a lot more of what is in it.

Understood, thanks. I can see how this can be an appropriate book for non-petrogeologists like myself. It's now on my list to acquire.

Oil 101 looks like a good read; ordered. Thanks.

Nice heads up Morgan...thanks.

I hope I'm not putting you on a spot with an off topic question but given your profession I'm sure many here would be interested in your take on the roll, or the lack of, by non-crude buying oil future speculators in the price run up during 2H 2008. We all understand this is a touchy subject and you might not care to respond under your real identity.

Thanks in advance either way.

I am not Morgan. Check my profile.

I haven't seen the book myself, but the table of contents of this book seems like it covers a lot--both production and financial aspects:

Part One: Oil fundamentals
Chapter 1: A brief history of oil
Chapter 2: A crude oil assay
Chapter 3: Components of oil liquids
Chapter 4: Chemistry of oil
Chapter 5: Industry overview
Chapter 6: Exploration and production
Chapter 7: Refining
Chapter 8: Standards
Chapter 9: Finished products
Chapter 10: Petrochemicals
Chapter 11: Transporting oil
Chapter 12: Storage
Chapter 13: Seasonality
Chapter 14: Reserves
Chapter 15: Environmental regulations
Chapter 16: New engine technologies

Part Two: Oil markets
Chapter 17: Oil prices
Chapter 18: Forward oil markets - futures and swaps
Chapter 19: Forward oil markets - options
Chapter 20: Managing oil price risk

Funny thing, on Saturday I was in the Technical Bookstore for Powell's in downtown Portland, looking for interesting cheap hydrocarbon titles. I think I skimmed over this because of the title...looked very much geared for the neophyte. Incidentally, if you want to really soak your brain in the minutiae of the FF industry may I suggest Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology , Exploration, Drilling, and Production? Ca. $50 but you'll understand what a kelly is when you're done.

I'm a bit ambivalent about spending $38 on a book about fossil fuels at this point, though. I could as well buy a set of spare tires for my bike, a couple of whetstones or a specialist carving gouge, a couple boxes of ammo for my .38, Etc. If there's 50% unemployment what good will it be to have graphs of Venezuela's crude production over time?

Your question highlights a problem at a site like this. We like to remain current and post on advancing technologies, and when we started I tried to give some background posts, as have others covering things from the purchase practices in buying gas from Turkmenistan to where the LNG terminals are, but with the productivity that writers here have, those posts fairly rapidly fade back into the archive.
Thus it is sometimes helpful to have a book that covers some of the background. (You could also try printing off all the posts and while I believe there is at least one of our readers that does that, I stopped after I had filled a couple of notebooks - since I didn't have the time to catalog things.)

And you can always go to a number of other sites that explain how the background to the posts (which is what the references are for). Given all that, I am still going to use the book (which like Robert, I got through the post).

Good ideas Dude. Besides, you know a good bit already. But I'll be glad to fill in any holes that come up. I only charge a nickle to answer good questions but the dumb ones will cost $10.

Like: do you know why it's called a "kelly"?

Nope. No luck hunting it up on Google, either. I'm going to guess it's the name of the inventor? Or, like many lakes and mountains in remote parts of Washington State, the name of a favorite prostitute?

Hmm, early posting here from Heading Out: [url=http://www.theoildrum.com/classic/2005/07/kelly-isnt-always-irishman.html]The Oil Drum | Kelly isn't always an Irishman[/url].

Back atcha: Do you know why remotely operated robotic proxies for hands are called "waldoes"? No peeking! (The story behind this one is a cinch to find)

452 pages about $33.00 Four 5 star reviews out the gate.

That's about the same price as a barrel of oil... :-) I wonder for how long.

It looks to me that there are eight different five star reviews, most with several readers agreeing. There are no reviews with fewer than five stars.

Eight it was bad memory and lazy scrolling on my part.

Thank you for this! I put it straight into my wish list.

One wanna-be investor asked Warren Buffet for advice about investing in the stock market. Warren told him, read company annual reports. The investor asked, "Which ones?" Warren answered, "All of them."

If you are interested in information about oil and natural gas I would recommend reading company annual reports and investor presentations (PDF) available at company websites. The subjects of oil, gas, drilling, seismic, refining, were reported in great detail by oil and gas industry writers working for their companies. A wealth of information is available to those who have time and a high speed internet connection.

I would like to second this recommendation. It is especially helpful to look at people who make money when the peak oil story is true. For instance, Precision Drilling Trust was projecting an increase in the need for drilling services because per well gas recover has been falling over time.

A lot of people have got badly burned in the last year who where basically hoping to make a killing on the 'one way bet' of Peak Oil / Oil / 'Oil Proxy Assets' like Agriculture and Commodities. It will be interesting to see what happens next.


True. I wish we had better studies of EROI and efficiency of services delivered. We could do a much better job of predicting economic contraction with that information. Everyone knew that higher prices would eventually cause a recession, but when and how severe were unknown. I think that with enough analysis from a biophysical perspective it would not have to be unknown.

I think the real key is the role of debt. Once growth stops because resources are not increasing fast enough, it becomes impossible to repay debt with interest, and huge defaults occur. That is where we are now. The question then becomes how much oil and natural gas production can be maintained based only on reinvestment of cash flow (no debt). This implies a big drop in production, because much recent production was only possible through debt. The problems with debt also have implications for imports of all kinds, since balance of payment deficits are a form of debt.

As the financial situation unwinds, it seems to me that It may become every country for itself with respect to oil and gas production, (plus barter with the oil that is produced for other products). Instead of thinking about peak oil on a world-wide basis, It may be necessary to think about oil production curves for individual countries. China has been going around trying to buy up resources. I think it has been planning ahead for a world of shortages.


I more inclined then ever to agree with your conclusions regarding the fear of debt in the oil patch today. Bit by bit I’m picking up more intel that the credit collapse had as much (and maybe more) to do with the drilling decline then pricing. As you know, drilling investments are not judged on today’s prices but on a forward-looking platform. Not as extended for NG as oil but still looking at some future rebound in prices. The conversations I over hear are typically more focused on avoiding debt accumulation then future prices. But there is some nervousness regarding the domestic NG market being flooded with imported LNG.

As I mentioned before my client will cut their rigs in the unconventional NG play from 18 to 3 by the end of February. Though I originally estimated a significant drop in NG production in the next 18 months I’ll now retract that guess. I’ve worked up a rather crude model but the lack of detailed production histories on the existing UNG wells makes refinement futile IMO. While my model obviously doesn’t show a continuation the dramatic rate of increase we’ve seen since 1/1/07, it tends to level out for a couple of years. Eventually the down slope develops as you can easily imagine but I wouldn’t call it a cliff. If I accept this model as reasonable and assume the folks spending 100’s of millions of $ on such project have worked their models in greater detail, then I can see the potential of excessive debt load being all the more worrisome for the CFO’s out there. Given what OPEC may do or not do with production rates I’ll ignore oil. But I think the industry is anticipating a continued soft NG market for at least a couple of years even if we begin to see some economic rebound in the next 18 moths or so. And that seems to be the optimistic view these days.

ROCKMAN, your comments are interesting and I think show a great deal of balance. There seemed to be a belief that peak oil was going to happen all in a day back when the price shot through the roof to over $140, that the whole drama would play out in a week...production tops then drops, prices go off to the moon and I sit happily on my earnings...oh if only the world were so simple.

The issue that has me by the tail now is demand side. If I could know or even safely assume that world demand would hold steady I would be willing to borrow money to buy oil and gas futures at these prices, but the demand picture going forward is very convoluted: Will people jump back in new SUV's after another half year of low oil prices, will they hit the road for cheap fossil fuel fired vacations this summer, or is the damage to household income and trust in prices, markets and jobs dramatic enough to keep folks on the thrifty side? And what about new car purchases as the junk we are all driving starts to age out? Will we buy to the small efficient end, or will we say what the heck, let's live a little, and go back to trying to be king of the road, with rocketship acceleration and luxury appointments? Who can know? And the buying patterns in the developing nations are even harder to get a handle on.

One last thought: Propane (LPG). The fact that an environmentally green and portable clean fuel can simply drop off the price cliff leaves me curious about the effect of commodity price cycles in general and what role currency swings and other macro-economic factors play. Is there any way by which the small investor/consumer can rationalize this market so that it makes sense and buying decisions are not simply guesses? Exactly how does this market work?

The picture that some peak oilers are putting forth simply does not make sense: We are facing a massive decline in production and export of petroleum commodities, a decline so great it will end the modern world...and oh by the way, oil and gas are so cheap they are not worth searching for and drilling? Such a scenario basically would end supply/demand as the driver of price and markets.

Don't get me wrong, I am not criticising, I'm asking...I am as lost as anyone in how the energy markets work.


I am waiting to see how the growth in driving moves over the next few months. Because the usual percentage increase is higher than the current percentage drop in demand we may see some overall bounce back in the demand figures. At least that was the basis for my price prediction for the summer. On the other hand the drop in driving has been somewhat dramatic and may likely continue.

I agree with you RC. The production side of the fence can be guessed with some wide margins (especially wide with non-US reserves and flow rates) but the demand projection is a lot tougher to say the least IMO. I know for a fact no one can accurately predict consumption trends for the next 5+ years or so. Lots of folks do predict the future and as long as the guesses cover the spectrum someone will get it right. But not because they’re any smarter then the rest IMO. Have 1000 folks pull a marble out of a bag with 999 white and 1 black marble then someone will certainly pick the black one.

I think the volatility we’ve seen recently in pricing as well as drilling rigs counts, net oil exports, etc is as good a model for PO as any. There will be variations…maybe some big ones in timing and magnitude. IMO above ground factors will dominate the below ground factors even when we’re getting far down the global decline curve. I’ve never bought the cliff theory. The plateau theory looked good for a while. Now I see a downward sloping plateau of sorts with occasional up peaks. But if and when it gets really nasty out there (true resource conflicts) those peaks and lows will affect various countries differently. Folks here can p&m all they want about last year’s high energy prices “hurting” us but that pain was nothing compared to economies which struggle to grow even when oil is less then $40/bbl. We’re still the 3rd largest oil producer on the planet and one of the healthiest (though not as we once were) economies.

As far as near term consumption I see most of the DD hitting commercial users. If Texas is comparable to the other states (of course we’re not in so many good ways) then gasoline consumption should be back up and then some maybe IMO.

Rockman's bag of marbles paints the picture well enough. The system is big and complex and far beyond anyone's modelling abilities. Although any number of forecasting systems may get parts right part of the time and make it look someone has the inside betting track, things tend to average out in less than the long run.

Fill a room full of batteries for the grid failure and it doesn't happen in a dozen years, you have not only wasted your money but also the energy that produced the unnecessary room full of batteries. We look to be entering new country without experienced guides or maps. At least we know the events and forecasts will be recorded from many points of view for some time to come. I doubt future (assuming such is possible) analysis of all the models and predictions leading up to the coming events will in the end even shed all that much light on how our predictions, as a whole, related to the actual events. Far less light will be shed on how to truly predict the future. Religion has always been a way we deal with these uncertainties, but these days many don't recognize that their own beliefs about the future are religious in nature.

yes, read, read and read some more, always with a cynical view of what they say and a focus on what they do.

imo, there will be a lot more fallout from overstating reserves. i know of an oil play in a northern state where the operators are using volumetrically guestimated.........er...i mean calculated reserves to which they force fit a hyperbolic decline curve. sufficient data is available to cast doubt upon these reserve estimates, but as long as the operators continue to drill up high ip wells, no analysist will bring it up. i think they have blown their own bubble.

looking at the option chains, a lot of $'s think the stock price will either rise or fall, few appear to think the prices will be stable.

Where did Oil come from????
A. Dinosaurs and animals
B. Trees and plants
C. Inorganic chemical process

Creating that much oil would take a big pile of dead dinosaurs and fermenting prehistoric plants. Could there be another source for crude oil?

An intriguing theory now permeating oil company research staffs suggests that crude oil may actually be a natural inorganic product, not a stepchild of unfathomable time and organic degradation. The theory suggests there may be huge, yet-to-be-discovered reserves of oil at depths that dwarf current world estimates.

The theory is simple: Crude oil forms as a natural inorganic process which occurs between the mantle and the crust, somewhere between 5 and 20 miles deep. The proposed mechanism is as follows:

Methane (CH4) is a common molecule found in quantity throughout our solar system – huge concentrations exist at great depth in the Earth.

At the mantle-crust interface, roughly 20,000 feet beneath the surface, rapidly rising streams of compressed methane-based gasses hit pockets of high temperature causing the condensation of heavier hydrocarbons. The product of this condensation is commonly known as crude oil.

Some compressed methane-based gasses migrate into pockets and reservoirs we extract as "natural gas."

In the geologically "cooler," more tectonically stable regions around the globe, the crude oil pools into reservoirs.

In the "hotter," more volcanic and tectonically active areas, the oil and natural gas continue to condense and eventually to oxidize, producing carbon dioxide and steam, which exits from active volcanoes.

Periodically, depending on variations of geology and Earth movement, oil seeps to the surface in quantity, creating the vast oil-sand deposits of Canada and Venezuela, or the continual seeps found beneath the Gulf of Mexico and Uzbekistan.

Periodically, depending on variations of geology, the vast, deep pools of oil break free and replenish existing known reserves of oil.

There are a number of observations across the oil-producing regions of the globe that support this theory, and the list of proponents begins with Mendelev (who created the periodic table of elements) and includes Dr. Thomas Gold (founding director of Cornell University Center for Radiophysics and Space Research) and Dr. J.F. Kenney of Gas Resources Corporations, Houston, Texas.

In his 1999 book, "The Deep Hot Biosphere," Dr. Gold presents compelling evidence for inorganic oil formation. He notes that geologic structures where oil is found all correspond to "deep earth" formations, not the haphazard depositions we find with sedimentary rock, associated fossils or even current surface life.

He also notes that oil extracted from varying depths from the same oil field have the same chemistry – oil chemistry does not vary as fossils vary with increasing depth. Also interesting is the fact that oil is found in huge quantities among geographic formations where assays of prehistoric life are not sufficient to produce the existing reservoirs of oil. Where then did it come from?

Another interesting fact is that every oil field throughout the world has outgassing helium. Helium is so often present in oil fields that helium detectors are used as oil-prospecting tools. Helium is an inert gas known to be a fundamental product of the radiological decay or uranium and thorium, identified in quantity at great depths below the surface of the earth, 200 and more miles below. It is not found in meaningful quantities in areas that are not producing methane, oil or natural gas. It is not a member of the dozen or so common elements associated with life. It is found throughout the solar system as a thoroughly inorganic product.

Even more intriguing is evidence that several oil reservoirs around the globe are refilling themselves, such as the Eugene Island reservoir – not from the sides, as would be expected from cocurrent organic reservoirs, but from the bottom up.

Dr. Gold strongly believes that oil is a "renewable, primordial soup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attached by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs."

Smaller oil companies and innovative teams are using this theory to justify deep oil drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, among other locations, with some success. Dr. Kenney is on record predicting that parts of Siberia contain a deep reservoir of oil equal to or exceeding that already discovered in the Middle East.

Holds head in hands ....

Haven't thought of old Flash in a long time! Great game indeed.

But this wouldn't mean oil is a "renewable" resource. There would still be a limit to the amount of methane buried in the center of the earth.

Nor does this change the economic factors: oil IS getting more difficult to find and extract. Whatever the source, we are producing less and less each year.

What this says is that we need to drill a lot deeper into the earth.
The current oil reserves are based on shallow wells for the most part.
Oil seeped upward through faults.
We need to drill up to 100 miles below the surface to get to the source.

drilling below about 7 miles deep hasn't been invented yet. steel drill pipe gets real soft at high temperatures.


If you have the time you can answer your question by googling a quick look at the thermal stability of oil and earth temperature gradient.

Don't worry, RT! Jeebus would never let *His* Chosen People run out of the black stuff. Every Christian fundamentalist (of a denomination I recognize) is entitled to a 5000sft McMansion, 3 SUVs, a big screen TV in every room (to view Rush Limbaugh, Fox News & 700 Club), and unlimited Happy Meals. Even if getting at that infinite abiotic oil means drilling down into the mantle, we'll find a way! Or, rather, we'll make those smart Darwin-worshipping scientists (who we hate, oh so very much...) find a way. And even if they don't, the Rapture will soon "take care" of things, so why worry?

Personally, I recommend avoiding Doomer/Liberal porn altogether and joining in on the boundless optimism of our Christian nation by reading up on how Prosperity Gospel and Cornucopianism can enable us to handsomely profit until the Rapture. Let the scientists, doomers and heathens perish on the Lake of Fire --it's all been foretold anyway. It's all good as long as we're the Chosen Ones, right?

chevron had some cutsy cartoon adds in the '70's that implied dinosaurs were the source for petroleum. sinclair still has a little dinosaur logo on their signs. i am surprised that anyone would take them as reality.

exxon had a cartoon where a tiger jumped into the gas tank(put a tiger in your tank), so why do you claim dinosaurs and not tigers are the source of petroleum?

Genius elwoodelmore! Have you already seen mention the new company experimenting with TD? Tiger depolymerization will be the next great fuel source! India is set to be the next Saudi Arabia.

Nowhere: First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you realise you're on the wrong track man.
(after Gandhi)

Creating that much oil would take a big pile of dead dinosaurs and fermenting prehistoric plants.

There should be a questionnaire that everyone should have to answer before being allowed to join the oil drum.

What is the origin of oil? That should be the first question. If they answer either "dead dinosaurs" or "trees and plants" or "inorganic chemical process", then they should be told to read a good book on the origins of oil and apply later. That way we will have no more of these very naive and stupid posts that are so embarrassing to longtime members of this list.

"Plants" would be correct but not the kind of plants this guy is thinking about. He is talking about trees, weeds and peat, the same kind of plants that produced coal beds. Algae, marine algae, Nowhere, is the source of all oil. Get a clue or stop posting.

Ron Patterson

Nowhere, the abiotic hypothesis isn't all that fresh, you might like to read the articles at the below links and proceed from there.


I wonder what the other 8 books on the Heading Out shelf of high honor are, any guesses or nominations?

The Party's Over
Twilight in the Desert
Hubbert's Peak
The Empty Tank
Feeding the Fire
Out of Gas
Control of Oil- Blair
Birth of the Oil Industry- Giddens

I have my own Energy Shelf:
Energy and Society- Cottrell
Consuming Power- Nye
Coping with Abundance- Melosi
Stronger than a Hundred Men- Reynolds
Leviathan- Dolan
Power Makers- Klein
Big Coal- Goddell
Mechanization Takes Command- Giedion
Machine in the Garden- Marx

Forgive me, I'm a librarian, this kind of stuff is energizing for me.

PS This year is the sesquicentennial of the discovery of oil by the redoubtable "Colonel" Drake by in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Kevin Walsh
Chicago Peak Oil

Since I am at home for the evening I can't run my finger along the shelves to check but I think I have at least six of the titles you provide, and have reviewed at least one (Big Coal) here in the past. Actually 3 of the books on my desk deal with biofuels and alternate energy since the ones I need to keep referring to deal with stuff I am less familiar with and need to keep checking. (And I am embarrassed to admit that I wrote one of the 8, and it relates to an OT subject). But having a book, and keeping it on my desk are two different sets of criteria. Matt's book is on the near bookshelf, for example.

Thanks so much for the book recommendation: I look forward to reading Oil 101.