British filmmaker Andrew Evans asks many questions in “PetroApocalypse Now?” regarding the state of the world’s oil supplies. The answers he receives, however, are contradictory.
On one side, there are those who argue the world is facing a peak oil situation where demand will soon outstrip supply – and it is possible it could be happening now if the oil-producing nations are exaggerating their reserve levels. Among those arguing those points are geologists and retired officials including U.S. Energy Secretary James Schlesinger and former U.K. Environment Minister Michael Meacher, who dubs this an “apocalyptic scenario.”
On the other side, there are those who argue that peak oil is not a problem and work is underway to ensure that supply is never depleted. That camp consists mostly of the governments oil-producing nations and the leading oil companies.
The film is openly skeptical of the “everything is okay” scenario, pointing to a rising global population and a decreasing quantity of new oil exploration endeavors as evidence of a looming energy catastrophe. The film vaguely questions the value of natural gas, electric vehicles and renewable energy as a solution to the oil addiction, but no depth is given to these considerations.
Also problematic is Evans himself – he narrates the documentary in a bombastic manner that seems more appropriate for a celebrity sex scandal program than an economics documentary, and he abruptly and inexplicably turns up for an on-camera interview with a French energy expert towards the end of the film.
Although it is uneven in its presentation, “PetroApocalypse Now?” is a provocative offering that raises too many troubling issues that are in desperate need of being honestly addressed.
2008, 48 minutes
Directed, produced, edited and filmed by Andrew Evans
An Aceditor Ltd. Production, Released by The Video Project