Climate change

New film reveals the price of our dependence on oil

A new film, released in cinemas just days ahead of COP27, explores the energy crisis and the fight over North Sea oil.

Written by Oceanographic Staff

A new documentary, called The Oil Machine, directed by Emma Davie and produced by Sonja Henrici, will be released in UK cinemas from 4 November 2022, just in time for this year’s COP 27 in Egypt from 6 – 18 November.

The film investigates our dangerous dependence on oil and its disastrous impact on the climate crisis and the growing energy crisis.

While the most recent IPCC Climate Report has signalled ‘Code Red’ for humanity and urged no more drilling for fossil fuels and over the next few months, the UK government aims to put out 100 new licenses for oil companies over the next few months to bid for exploration rights in the North Sea. These companies are likely to be from all over the world.

Director Emma Davie said: “Now more than ever it is vital we understand what is happening in the North Sea. We need to be informed about processes such as the licensing rounds which hitherto have been invisible to most of the public and to understand the link between finance and oil.

This film is made to stimulate debate across the country at such a significant time. Screenings and public debates will be hosted by different sectors of the community ranging from MP’s to activists, scientists to lawyers, teachers to investment bankers. Every sector of our country is affected by this and we aim to mobilise a huge public discourse in all areas of society. I believe that what we do over the next five years will determine the future of humanity for the next millennium.”

The Oil Machine reveals the hidden infrastructure of oil from the offshore rigs and the buried pipelines to its flow through the stock markets of London. As the North Sea industry struggles to meet the need to cut carbon emissions, oil workers see their livelihoods under threat, and investors seek to protect their assets. Meanwhile a younger generation of climate activists are catalysed by the signs of impending chaos, and the very real threat of global sea level rises. The documentary explores the complexities of transitioning away from oil and gas as a society.

We have five to ten years to control our oil addiction, and yet the licensing of new oil fields continues in direct contradiction with the Paris Climate Agreement. This documentary looks at how the drama of global climate action is playing out in the fight over North Sea oil.

By highlighting the complexities of how oil runs through every aspect of our society – from high finance to cheap consumer goods – it brings together a wide range of voices from oil company executives, economists, young activists, pension fund managers and considers how this machine can be tamed, dismantled, or repurposed.

The film features a fascinating array of voices, including: Holly Gillibrand (dubbed “Scotland’s Greta”), Kevin Anderson (Professor of Energy & Climate Change, Manchester University), Emeka Emembolu (Senior VP of BP North Sea), Jake Molloy (Regional Organiser, RMT Union), James Marriott (co-author of Crude Britannia), Mikaela Loach (Edinburgh medical student), Sir David King (former UK Govt. Chief Scientific Advisor), Deirdre Michie(CEO of Oil & Gas UK), Steve Waygood (Chief Responsible Investor at Aviva Investors), Tessa Khan (climate lawyer from Uplift), Ann Pettifor (economist & author), and others.

Tessa Khan, climate lawyer from Uplift, said: “The Oil Machine is an incredibly timely look at the role that the oil and gas industry has played in shaping the UK.

“There has never been a more urgent need to shift away from oil, and yet we are witnessing an industry in resurgence. The next few years will be a vital test of whether or not we can stand up to the oil machine.”

In addition to the film release, the The Oil Machine team is initiating a big impact campaign to help shift our view on oil, with parliament screenings, and more screenings on the agenda to spark conversation amongst the police force and fire brigade and many more communities. You can see more about the impact campaign here.

The film will be released in UK cinemas on 4 November 2022. Find out more here.


Photography courtesy of The Oil Machine.

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Written by Oceanographic Staff

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