Watch the trailer

Oil has been an invisible machine at the core of our economy and society. It now faces an uncertain future as activists and investors demand change. Is this the end of oil?

By highlighting the complexities of how oil is embedded in our society – from high finance to cheap consumer goods – THE OIL MACHINE brings together a wide range of voices from oil company executives, economists, young activists, workers, scientists, and pension fund managers. It considers how this machine can be tamed, dismantled, or repurposed.

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.

Oil companies are convinced that they can continue to keep drilling while keeping to Net Zero ambitions through adopting new technologies, such as carbon capture. But climate scientists are deeply sceptical of the Net Zero concept and the time it would take for these technologies to be effective.

The film 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 OIL MACHINE explores the complexities of transitioning away from oil and gas as a society and considers how quickly we can do it.

Directed by Emma Davie, produced by Sonja Henrici

Country: UK | Year: 2022 | Duration: 82’ | Language: English | Format: DCP | Rating: PG


Coming up...

One World Festival, Prague

Tuesday, 28 Mar 2023 at 6:00 PM
Ponrepo Cinema in Praha, Czech Republic (on Google Maps)
130.00 Kč CZK

Pordenone Doc Fest, Italy

Saturday, 01 Apr 2023 at 10:30 AM
Cinemazero in Pordenone, Italy (on Google Maps)
€8.00 EUR

XR Dundee

Saturday, 01 Apr 2023, time TBC
Dundee Botanic Garden in Dundee, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Join in this day of Science Talks with Extinction Rebellion Dundee.

Gåsebäck Film Festival, Sweden

Sunday, 02 Apr 2023 at 2:00 PM
Gåsebäck Film Festival in Helsingborg, Sweden (on Google Maps)
Sk100.00 SKK

Join in an online Q&A with James Marriott, key contributor in the film and co-author of Crude Britannia.

ZERO, Guildford

Tuesday, 11 Apr 2023 at 7:30 PM
ZERO in Guildford, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)


Thursday, 20 Apr 2023 at 6:00 PM
The Old Library in Bodmin, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

With discussion hosted by intoBodmin CIC and Plastic Free Bodmin.

Blairgowrie & Rattray Climate Café

Monday, 24 Apr 2023 at 7:00 PM
St. Catharine's Community Hall in Blairgowrie, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

CINEMARE Int'l Ocean Film Festival, Kiel

Friday, 28 Apr 2023 at 8:00 PM
Kommunikationszentrum Hansastrarsse 48 E. V. in Kiel, Germany (on Google Maps)
€7.00 EUR

Somerset Film, Brigwater

Saturday, 29 Apr 2023 at 1:45 PM
The Engine Room in Bridgwater, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Join a discussion hosted by Somerset Film and Taunton Climate Action.

Waveney Mayday Peoples Festival, Lowestoft

Monday, 01 May 2023 at 2:30 PM
The GRIT Centre for the Arts & Heritage in Lowestoft, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Part of the 12th annual Mayday festival hosted by Waveney TUC.

There will be two screenings of the film, at 2:30pm and 5pm with a debate in between around 4pm.

Waveney Mayday Peoples Festival, Lowestoft

Monday, 01 May 2023 at 5:00 PM
The GRIT Centre for the Arts & Heritage in Lowestoft, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Part of the 12th annual Mayday festival hosted by Waveney TUC.

There will be two screenings of the film, at 2:30pm and 5pm with a debate in between around 4pm.

Wyre Forest Green Alliance, Bewdley

Saturday, 06 May 2023, time TBC
Bewdley Quaker Meeting House in Bewdley, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Landworkers' Alliance

Sunday, 07 May 2023 at 7:00 PM in Online, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)
£3.00 GBP

Join this online screening as part of the monthly LWA Film Club.

Eco Rother Action

Wednesday, 14 Jun 2023, time TBC
Henry Warren Hall in Nyewood, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

part of ERA's Great Big Green Week events programme.

Alnwick Playhouse

Saturday, 01 Jul 2023 at 5:00 PM
Alnwick Playhouse in Alnwick, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)
£5.00 GBP

Are you impacted by the current cost of living crisis? Is your job or business in danger because of spiralling energy bills? And are 100 new licences for drilling in the North Sea the right answer to this?

We live in an oil machine and we are running out of time.

The film THE OIL MACHINE shows how much we depend on oil and gas, and why that needs to change.

Now, After THE OIL MACHINE, let’s engage others in the discussion about how we transition away from an oil-based economy. Our campaign has already been making an impact, sparking the conversations and actions that are needed to create a more just and sustainable future. If you’ve just watched the film, or are curious to find out more, here are some ways to get involved.

Sparking discussions after watching the film

Every screening of THE OIL MACHINE can kick off a discussion in your community on how the North Sea plays a role in determining our future.

Find a screening

No matter if you're an oil worker or a climate activist, an investor or an educator, a scientist or a politician – we’d love to hear from you if you can be part of the discussion at one of our screenings. 

Speak at a screening

We also make it very easy for you to host your own event. Over 150 groups have hosted free community screenings since November — tell us what you have in mind and we'll help you get going.

Host a screening

What’s been happening since filming THE OIL MACHINE

The issues raised in the film have become even more urgent with recent upheavals in energy security, the cost of living, and our climate. At the same time, the new UK government is rushing to put out 100 new licences for North Sea oil and gas exploration. One year on from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, we've gone back to the film’s contributors to ask them how recent global events have shaped the ongoing debate about oil.

play_circle Watch catch-up interviews

What needs to come after the oil machine

We have to act now and make sweeping changes that move our societies away from dependence on fossil fuels. What will you do to help? What are your demands from those in power? We're asking the film’s contributors to share their ideas to get you started.

Make a difference

“I believe that what we do over the next five years will determine the future of humanity for the next millennium.”
— Sir David King, UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor 2000–2007, in THE OIL MACHINE

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