Rusty Haggard Blog

Book on Saudi Arabian Oil Field Published

I answered the phone at my office. It was January 2009. Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest provider of oil, was on the line and asked if I would consider being the author of a book for them. It had to do with the development of the oil field known as Khurais. Would I accept?

Now, two years later – after saying yes and launching my retirement – the book I wrote about this fourth largest oil field in the world has been published. Just weeks before the phone call, I had written my farewell, sign-off piece – effectively announcing that I was retiring. After 24 years as the only writer and editor at the Construction Industry Institute – the research consortium on project management at the University of Texas – and nine years in the petroleum engineering department there and two-plus years at Boeing, I was done.

Until, that is, I said yes and found myself a couple of months later flying to Dammam. Within 48 hours of landing in Saudi Arabia, I was whisked by car 200 kilometers into the Arabian Desert.

And there it stood: one of the world’s largest construction projects. A $12 billion giant, still under construction and home at one time to 28,000 workers from all around the world.

I was a one-man reporting, recording, and writing operation for over five weeks in the desert. I had a digital video camera, a tripod, a computer with Internet access and about 70 executives, project managers, project engineers, young engineers and a collection of South Koreans, Italians, Brits, Americans and others to interview.

How did they do it? What does this monstrosity do? What was it like to plan and execute this unbelievable, world-class project? I found the answers and as the company wished, developed a dramatic narrative story to inspire others to excellence – the excellence that was essential in creating the Khurais megaproject.

The book is published. Now if I can write the story of how I wrote the book…

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