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?

Now available to watch online in many countries

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

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Coming up...

Southsea Green Film Festival

Sunday, 26 May 2024 at 3:00 PM
Southsea Community Cinema & Arts Centre in Southsea, Portsmouth, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)
£7.50 GBP


From the discovery of huge oil fields off the coast of Scotland to their mass privatisation during the Thatcher era, The Oil Machine highlights how oil became the invisible engine driving UK economic and public policy. In the wake of COP26 in Glasgow, demand for climate action has become a key societal concern and the pressure on both oil companies and the government continues to mount. Bringing together a wide range of voices, from industry executives and economists to young activists, Davie offers a visceral and thought-provoking interrogation into how this insidious machine might be dismantled.

University of Technology in Delft

Monday, 27 May 2024 at 6:00 PM
TU Delft – Faculty of Architecture, Hall F (08.01.West.200) in Delft, Netherlands (on Google Maps)


Can we break our addiction? Join us at a screening of the award-winning documentary THE OIL MACHINE followed by a discussion.

Naturvernforbundet i Fredrikstad og Hvaler, Norway

Wednesday, 05 Jun 2024 at 6:00 PM
Fredrikstad kino in Gamle Fredrikstad, Norway (on Google Maps)


Can we break our addiction? Screening of the award winning documentary The Oil Machine and discussion hosted by Naturvernforbundet i Fredrikstad og Hvaler (NiFH), a local branch of the Norwegian 'Friends of the Earth'.

Sleaford Climate Action Network

Friday, 21 Jun 2024 at 7:15 PM
Sleaford Masonic Centre in Sleaford, United Kingdom (on Google Maps)


Can we break our addiction? A screening of the award winning documentary THE OIL MACHINE followed by a discussion of the subject matter.


"Thanks to its sheer pertinence, THE OIL MACHINE is essential viewing for everyone from young students to governmental policymakers. It makes for bleak viewing, but it’s mesmerising in its delivery, making you rigid with worry and then alert with proactivity."
 Far Out Magazine, Five movies that will change your perception of the oil industry

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

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

How is your community dealing with the climate emergency? 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?

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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