Following the trail of strange explosions of gasoline, Tintin, Snowy and policemen Thomson and Thompson come to a port in the fictional Khemed. The boat is registered by the police and finds a stash of drugs in the cabin of the police and opposition party documentation of Sheikh Bab el-Ehr in Tintin, placed there to incriminate.
Tintin is then taken to prison on charges of espionage and sentenced to death. He fought the minions of death of Sheikh Bab el-Ehr believing it an ally and leading to his boss in a desert camp. Believing Sheikh sends a spy to move the camp taking Tintin as a prisoner but ends up leaving him in the desert.
Tintin manages to reach an oasis where he is attending the bombing of a transmission of oil (a terrorist act attributed to Sheikh Bab el-Ehr). Following the authors of the view that the Sheikh has nothing to do but it is Dr. Müller (Black Island) who are behind. After facing Müller, Tintin returns to be abandoned in the desert.
Meanwhile, Thompson and Thomson have demonstrated their innocence and are looking for Tintin and Sheikh Bab el-Ehr to collect the reward. Tintin found in the middle of a sandstorm and when they return to civilization cause an accident and are stopped.
Tintin meets with the Emir Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab to request the release of their friends. At that time is kidnapped Abdallah, the son of the emir, and Tintin suspects that Dr. Müller is behind the kidnapping to force his father to sign a contract with the oil company it represents. After freeing the demon of Abdallah and arrest Müller, we discover a product that was popping gasoline (and they eat Hernández and Fernández in error which makes them very quickly grow hair in some circumstances as on the Moon).
Some current issues (eg, publishing in Catalan) maintains the previous version. In it, Tintin arrives at the port of Haifa in British-ruled Palestine and is stopped by British soldiers. Is kidnapped by a command of the Irgun (Jewish armed organization) who mistakes him for someone else, and the command is in turn intercepted by Palestinian guerrillas, who happen to be under the command of Bab el-Ehr. As seen, the episode referred to a very specific historical moment and conflicting.