George Clooney je bil za vlogo v tem filmu nagrajen z oskarjem. Film se osredotoča na korupcijo in spletke, ki prepredajo svetovno naftno industrijo. Mlad in karizmatičen arabski princ Nasir namerava spremeniti dolgoletne trdne gospodarske odnose z Ameriko. Zato se odloči, da bo pravice za črpanje nafte, ki jih je do zdaj imelo teksaško podjetje, predal Kitajcem. Američani s takšnim scenarijem niso zadovoljni, zato v Perzijski zaliv pošljejo agenta Cie Boba Barnesa, da izvede atentat na Nasirja. Bob je bil od nekdaj predan svoji službi, zato tudi brezpogojno verjame, da njegovo delo koristi vladi. A poskus atentata se izjalovi in Cia Bobu obrne hrbet. Bob zato začne raziskovati, kaj se je pravzaprav zgodilo. Kmalu odkrije grdo resnico.
American oil companies Connex and smaller Killen are undergoing a merger, the new company named Connex-Killen. The move is in response to Connex losing a number of oil fields in the Persian Gulf region as Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, his country's foreign minister, and the oldest son of the Emir and thus the heir apparent to the throne, signed a contract with the Chinese instead. As Killen somehow managed to get the contract for the oil fields in Kazahkstan, the merger would give Connex-Killen additional control of the industry in the Middle East. Connex's retained law firm, headed by Dean Whiting, assigns Bennett Holiday to demonstrate to the US Department of Justice that due diligence has been done to allow the merger to proceed i.e. that the merger would not break any antitrust regulations. The US government is unhappy with Prince Nasir's decision to award the contract to the Chinese, and in combination with issues around illegal weapons, the CIA assigns field agent Bob Barnes, who has experience in the Middle East, to assassinate the Prince, whose eventual leadership would further undermine US oil security. Barnes becomes a pawn in the goings-on between the players. Meanwhile, Geneva based Bryan Woodman, an energy analyst, eventually becomes associated with the Emir and his family, largely due to a tragic incident. In the process, Woodman learns of Prince Nasir's western leanings and his want to change radically his country into a western democracy with a diversified economy. If the Emir found out, it could threaten Prince Nasir ascension to the throne and thus derail the democratization process. Through all these manoeuvrings, migrant workers are affected, some who cannot retain work with the changing of companies controlling the oil. Some of those may try to take matters into their own hands for their form of justice.