MEI is proud to host author Lois Critchfield for a discussion about her new book, Oman Emerges: An American Company In An Ancient Kingdom. When Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said deposed his father in 1970, he inherited a neglected country with a modest oil income, but virtually no one qualified to advocate for his interests to the executives of Shell Oil - until he met James Critchfield, the author's late husband.
A decorated combat officer in World War II, Critchfield joined the CIA in 1948 and retired 26 years later as the first man to hold the position of National Intelligence Officer for energy. He was a specialist in the geopolitics of energy who was eminently suited to begin his third career. Originally contracted to advise the Sultanate on oil policy, Critchfield's company, Tetra Tech International, gradually expanded its role to include the development of the nation's water and maritime resources as well as major infrastructure projects in the vital Musandam Peninsula and the Buraimi oasis.
Lois Critchfield's history of Tetra Tech is a behind-the-scenes view of just exactly how such development programs are conceived and implemented on a national scale. She details the technical, financial and political considerations involved in these projects and reflects upon their implications 35 years later. Oman Emerges is a case study in international commerce and industry that is most valuable for its insight into the age-old conflict between corporate and national interests.