The sequel of "The Prize", which focuses on the history of oil. The author deals in "The Quest" with the short period about oil that was left uncovered in the "The Prize", starting from the second Gulf War (invasion of Kuwait). In the meanwhile, oil has further dominated world politics: Chavez, Saddam Hussein, Nigeria and Iran. Next to that, the oil industry got involved in several mergers & acquisitions: Conocco Phillips, BP Amoco, Exxon Mobil and Total Elf to name a few.
Contrary to Fukuyama's illusion, China and USA have been working further on their goal to be energy independent. The latter seems to be harder than expected, although coal and nuclear energy benefit China, shale gas and shale oil favor USA, energy conservation both. There is still a long way to go, but the growing non-OPEC share leaves opportunities for geopolitical diversification.
What about Japan and Europe? Notwithstanding the Fukushima tragedy, the country has little more options than nuclear energy (taking into account a 80% import dependency on Middle Eastern oil). The same goes for Europe. It is OK to think green, but eliminating nuclear energy leaves no European option than to heavily rely on Arab oil. What if the US decides to retreat from that area? Europe lacks both the political courage and military means to protect its energy sources.
Obviously, Yergin also spends quite some time on green energy and energy conservation. Solar cells, electric cars, biofuel,... Whether or not humans caused the climate change, it is never wrong to use energy more efficiently and to diversify its energy sources. To save the planet and also to be more self-dependent from a geopolitical point of view. Any European politician could learn from this double lesson.