David Heard, author of From Pearls to Oil, is unique in the sense that he has experienced first-hand the dramatic transformation of the region. He and his wife witnessed the establishment of the UAE federal state and over the years have enjoyed the friendship of many of its citizens. On many occasions they met the first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his brother, Sheikh Shakhbut.
David was born in London and studied geology and physics in England. Seeking a more adventurous life, he arrived in Abu Dhabi in 1963 to join a small team bringing on-stream new oil wells in the desert. He was the engineer in the field overseeing the production of the first oil from the giant Asab and Sahil fields in the 1960s. In 1967, he married German historian Dr Frauke Heard-Bey, and the couple relocated to Abu Dhabi, where they still live with their three children.
After retirement, intrigued by stories and historical accounts given by colleagues over the years, he decided to embark on a journey with the aim of putting together all the information that shed light on the evolution of the region, with an emphasis on the discovery of oil and the role it has played in the lives of the local people. This task was carried out by delving into the archives of the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Company (ADPC), and extensive research.
The result was From Pearls to Oil, a testament to the challenges faced by extraordinary men who initiated the search for oil in the UAE in the years between the two World Wars. This book features never-before-published copies of letters, notes and reports from the archives of the ADPC and other literature recorded by British Government officials, in addition to rare photographs, maps and the authors in-depth narrative.