A jaunty profile of Michael T. Halbouty, the controversial Texas oilman who forecast the energy crisis of the 1970s in 1960, written with lots of help from its single-minded subject. The son of Lebanese immigrants who ran a small grocery in Beaumont, Halbouty worked his way through Texas A.&M., earning an M.A. in both geology and petroleum engineering. After graduating (1931), he joined a survey crew on the Gulf Coast and, just six weeks later, helped discover the High Island field, which has since yielded over 135 million barrels of crude oil. Following this precocious triumph, Halbouty went on to open scores of productive fields and drill his share of dusters in Texas and elsewhere, making, losing, and recouping fortunes. Well before it became fashionable, he lobbied for conservation measures--at no small personal cost, he claims. He's also published hundreds of papers in scholarly or trade journals and written the standard reference work on salt dome structures. Recently, Halbouty began capitalizing on his status as a living legend and became an influential elder statesman, bearding OPEC lions in their Vienna den, and advising the White House. Donahue has a weakness for colorful yams, and Halbouty has played to it: the result is lots of atmospherics and only glimmers of solid achievement.