Mainstream Peak Oil Film: The Deal

2005 June 20
by Chris Vernon

The DealToday I heard about a new film that was released in the States on the 17th June 2005. It sounded like a run of the mill corporate, political, espionage affair but it was about oil and there aren’t very many mainstream films about oil so I thought I’d investigate a little further.

The film is called The Deal with the strap line To The Victor Goes The Oil.

One point of note is that the film was written by a former vice president of Goldman, Sachs & Co. in collaboration with the former head of the Goldman Sachs Oil and Gas department. Again we are hearing from the old timers, okay I don’t know how old they are but it sounds like they are no longer in those high profile roles. Maybe through this film they are able to offer a glimpse into what really goes on behind the scenes of these major organisations.

The official blurb goes like this:

In the near future, as war rages in the Middle East and U.S. gas prices top six dollars a gallon, ambitious investment banker Tom Hanson (Christian Slater) finds himself at the center of a $20 billion takeover bid for a Russian oil company. It’s a deal some people would kill for – literally, as it turns out. As Tom and an idealistic young associate (Selma Blair) each separately uncover the truth about the transaction, they soon realize that there’s far more at stake than money and fossil fuel.

Things got interesting however when I clicked the After The Show link. Here they suggest that watching the film is only the start, things get interesting after the lights go up. The websites lists around a dozen questions to ask one another such these:

Who do you think is closer to telling the truth about our energy situation-the government or a film like this?
Do you believe that we are on the brink of an oil crisis?
How should we balance environmental concerns with economic ones?

There are also a list of facts presented such as:

Oil production is already falling in 33 of the world’s 48 largest oil producing countries, including 6 of the 11 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
World demand for oil will likely exceed world supply of oil by 2010 (The Futurist, World Oil)
Drilling in Alaska would produce no oil for 10 years and will ultimately produce only 6 months worth of US oil consumption in total (US Geological Survey). It represents only 0.3% of the world’s oil supply, and will ultimately reduce our dependence on foreign oil by only 1-5%.

Their true colours really shine through with their book (how many film websites have book lists!) and website lists including:

Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy – Matthew R. Simmons
High Noon for Natural Gas: The New Energy Crisis – Julian Darley
The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World – Paul Roberts
and even!

I haven’t seen the film yet, I don’t know if it’s any good. But it looks like we have a mainstream film, playing in hundreds if not thousands of theatres, based on peak oil. It scares me sometimes just how fast peak oil awareness is growing.

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