Tuesday AM November 3rd, 2009

A new documentary is being shown at film festivals looking at America's reliance on oil, despite political promises from both sides of the aisle since the 1970s. Ed Mayberry reports.

Interviews were filmed with wildcatters and roughnecks, offshore drillers and oil company CEOs about the current state of America's energy crisis. Nicole Torres talked with former Shell Oil CEO John Hoffmeister, for example, as well as leaders of other oil majors, for her documentary "Houston—We Have a Problem." 

"I look at oil through their eyes in a very mathematical way, and basically, you know, all the numbers, in a certain way, stack against the oil industry.  I mean, no matter what, everybody's gonna say the cheap oil's gone.  And that's just the truth, and what's happening now is these alternative fuels, alternative energy, is becoming a really serious player in the energy world, because the numbers are starting to balance."

One oilman told Torres "no one saw India and China coming," and when that happened, everything changed.  Torres was surprised to find that a lot of the push for alternatives comes from the oil majors themselves.

"It blew my mind,  When I first, that's exactly how I started the story, is I came there to do a puff piece as a California liberal.  I met my first oilman and, you know, just had 'oh he's a bad guy' kind of experience.  We started talking and he was like 'yes, we need alternatives.  Yeah, we fight wars because of oil.  What did you think?'  And I, I was stunned.  I didn't, I didn't think these people thought that way!  And that was really the emphasis to do the whole film."  

A premier screening for Houston media and energy insiders is set for tomorrow evening.  "Houston—We Have a Problem" is part of the United Nations Association Film Festival at the Rice Media Center November 6th through the 8th. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Houston We Have a Problem movie poster

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...