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Erin Neal has been living a secluded life in the Arizona desert since the death of his girlfriend and he isn't happy when an oil company executive comes calling. A number of important Saudi oil wells have stopped producing and Erin is the world's foremost expert in resolving just these kinds of complications.
Erin quickly finds himself stuck in the Saudi desert studying a new bacteria with a voracious appetite for oil and an uncanny talent for destroying drilling equipment. It soon becomes clear that if this contagion isn't stopped, it will infiltrate the world's petroleum reserves, cutting the industrial world off from the energy that provides the heat, food, and transportation necessary for survival. As the threat becomes more real, Erin realizes that there's something eerily familiar about this bacteria. And that it couldn't possibly have evolved on its own.