Very slight -- good beach-reading (so to speak). Gave up after 45 pages. The book was actually commissioned by ARAMCO -- though they sat on it for a decade. Worthwhile, I guess, if you've got time to burn.
Ghawar.... A word that will soon be on everyone's lips....
Interestingly..., Scopes, who was simply the local Dayton, Tenn. high school science teacher, and who wanted nothing to do with his trial, sitting at the defense table without uttering more than a single, brief comment -- both during the trial itself, and during the appeal before the Tenn. Supreme Court ("I furnished the body that was needed to sit in the defendant's chair," he later wrote )... afterwards had no interest in pursuing biology and instead went to graduate school (at the Univ. of Chicago) in geology, ending up as a petroleum engineer -- working for some time in Venezuela. It was his achievements in this area that he was most proud of.
(Presumably he worked on conventional oil -- Venezuela, which owns Citgo, being one of the great producers -- though their conventional production has probably peaked. The Orinoco deposits, however, like the tar sands in Alberta, are one of the great UNCONVENTIONAL reserves in the world -- containing nearly 200 billion barrels of oil in place -- but these deposits, a tar-like substance embedded in sand are extremely difficult to extract, requiring great technical efforts and infrastructure build-up, and are not economical at anything under $80-100 oil. To give you some idea of how tar sands work -- it needs either to be scooped up with giant shovels and then melted off from the sands, or melted in situ and THEN processed -- Canada will spend probably some $500 billion between now and 2020 to get oil sand production up from the current measely 1 mm bbls/day up to a maximum of, maybe, 5mm bbls/day. That is, just double what OPEC has cut this month.)
At any rate, Stegner's book is supposed to be something of a classic. For anyone interested in Saudi oil, the "must read", of course, is Matt Simmons' Twilight in the Desert: http://www.amazon.com/Twilight-Desert-Coming-Saudi-Economy/dp/0471790184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230440408&sr=1-1 (though this book is not easily accessible to the novice; it took me several years of studying the topic, including books on petroleum geology, before I could appreciate the originality and sheer intelligence of Simmons' book).