The 2022 release of Ibrahim Al-Muhanna’s book, Oil Leaders: An Insider’s Account of Four Decades of Saudi Arabia and OPEC’s Global Energy Policy, is timely as it corresponds to the global crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As apparent from the title, the book provides the story of Al-Muhanna’s personal experience in his different capacities in Saudi Arabia’s energy sectors. The author does not claim to reveal any secret or confidential information. Instead, he presents observations gained from data from OPEC, the International Energy Agency, the International Energy Forum, the World Bank, and interviews he conducted over the course of four years. The book narrates the development of the oil industry within the Kingdom and the globe, more so as a reflection on people’s lives, targeting a multifaceted audience. Thus, the book resembles an anecdotal biography of several vital figures whose lives and personalities have significantly impacted the oil and energy sectors. It sheds light on direct and indirect relations within oil politics from, primarily, the Saudi perspective; the book consists of eleven chapters, with an introduction and conclusion.
Reviewed by Hamdullah Baycar for Arab Studies Quarterly