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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...

Swansea University

Monday, 06 Feb 2023 at 5:00 PM
Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Join this screening as preparation for the upcoming Swansea University Students Union AGM.

Followed by Q&A with special panellist guests to find out what the People & Planet Fossil Free Careers campaign is all about and how to stop dirty oil companies from entering campus.

Oddington Environment Group

Monday, 06 Feb 2023 at 8:00 PM
Islip Village Hall in Islip, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)
£1.50 GBP

The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington

Thursday, 09 Feb 2023 at 7:30 PM
The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)
£5.00 GBP

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

Llyfrgell Maindee Library, Newport

Friday, 10 Feb 2023 at 6:45 PM
Llyfrgell Maindee Library in Newport , United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Panel discussion to follow the screening, plus light refreshments. Speakers include:

  • Adam Taylor, Chief Executive, Gwent Wildlife Trust
  • Cllr. Lauren James, Newport's first Green Party councillor
  • Dr. Stuart Capstick, Deputy Director, Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation, Cardiff University

Biodiversity Bloxham

Friday, 10 Feb 2023 at 7:00 PM
Ex-Servicemen's Hall in Bloxham, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Join a discussion after the film, with refreshments.

Event supported by Bloxham Parish Council.

York Environmental Sustainability Institute

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2023 at 5:45 PM
University of York in York, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Discussion to follow hosted by Dr. Bipasa Datta, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics and lead of the Climate Change network for University of York.

Abingdon Carbon Cutters

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2023 at 7:30 PM
Guildhall in Abingdon, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

After the screening, join a conversation hosted by Abingdon Carbon Cutters and One Planet Abingdon.

Climate Action Hub, Exeter

Friday, 17 Feb 2023 at 6:30 PM
Climate Action Hub in Exeter, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Discussion to follow the screening with:

- Professor James Dyke, Associate Professor of Earth System Science and Assistant Director of Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter
Sarah Finch, activist
Caspar Hughes. activist

The Climate Crew Dinbych, Denbigh

Saturday, 18 Feb 2023 at 2:00 PM
Theatr Twm o’r Nant in Denbigh, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

screening hosted by The Climate Crew Dinbych and Denbigh Film Club.

Glasgow Quaker Meeting House

Sunday, 19 Feb 2023 at 1:30 PM
Glasgow Quaker Meeting House in Glasgow, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Climate Action Ilkley

Sunday, 19 Feb 2023 at 7:30 PM
Operatic House in Ilkley, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

After the screening, join a public discussion and Q&A hosted by Climate Action Ilkley.

Sustainable South Brent

Monday, 20 Feb 2023 at 7:30 PM
Old School Community Centre: Sustainability Hub in South Brent, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Refreshments & a chance for discussion afterwards.

University of Westminster, London

Friday, 24 Feb 2023 at 1:00 PM
Regent Cinema in London, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Hosted by the Architecture + Cities Climate Action Taskforce and the Schools of Humanities, Law and Social Sciences at the University of Westminster. Screening followed by discussion with:

  • Lucy Bond, School of Humanities
  • Julia Chryssostalis, Westminster Law School and member of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty campaign
  • Ruth MacKenzie, Westminster Law School
  • Wojciech Ostrowski, School of Social Sciences
  • Lindsay Bremner, School of Architecture + Cities (panel host)

The screening is free but space is very limited, please book in advance through the ticket link. 


Bolton Socialist Club

Friday, 24 Feb 2023 at 7:00 PM
Bolton Socialist Club in Bolton, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Northern Ireland Science Festival, Belfast

Saturday, 25 Feb 2023 at 2:00 PM
Ulster University in Belfast, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

After the screening, join a discussion with

  • Anna Kernahan, a young climate activist and writer from Belfast, founder of Fridays for Future NI and Amnesty International Bravery Award winner.
  • Dylan Hamilton, a teenage climate justice and trans rights activist from Scotland, and featured in the film.

This event is part of NI Science Festival's Climate Summit - SIREN23.

The Cube, Bristol

Monday, 27 Feb 2023 at 8:00 PM
The Cube in Bristol, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)
£5.00 GBP

Followed by a Q&A discussion hosted by The Bristol Cable.

Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth, Narberth

Sunday, 12 Mar 2023 at 7:30 PM
The Queens Hall in Narberth , United Kingdom (on Google Maps)

Do this year’s heat waves worry you? Will you have to choose between heating and eating this winter? 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 that?

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. 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.

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’re now going 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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