#BigOil Targets Teens with Oil Drilling Video Game

Oil giant Maersk knows that oil drilling isn’t as popular or cool as it once was, and they’re pretty sure that their PR and marketing are to blame, not the oil industry’s history of catastrophic disasters and spills.

Maybe a sexy drill-for-oil video game is the answer? Something noble and ambitious-sounding, like “The Quest for Oil?” Sounds like hours and hours of fun!

“Most people take for granted that we have oil and natural gas and not many people understand what it takes to find and produce it. The world’s need for oil and gas is leading exploration into ever deeper waters and ventures demanding precision and cutting edge technology. It’s a sophisticated, fascinating industry and ‘Quest for Oil’ offers everybody a glimpse of what oil and gas exploration is all about today,” says Jakob Thomasen, CEO of Maersk Oil in a press release about the game.

Can a video game dedicated to the geology and science of drilling really impress today’s teens? Maybe, but probably not this one.

Most video games have a beginning, middle and end-goal in mind. Usually these are lofty goals like saving the earth, saving a princess, or saving a city from destruction. That’s not the goal for ‘Quest for Oil’, however — the goal is education and telling their story, according to the CEO:

With that in mind, there’s no frame of reference for failure in the game. Noticeably absent are the consequences of imprecise drilling such as oil-soaked birds or tainted sections of the ocean. The game pretty much focuses on what is happening inside the earth, leaving Green Peace boats full of protesters or clean-up measures out of the narrative. (With all the negativity surrounding the oil industry, it’s hard to blame them!) The game is the epitome of the “drill baby drill” mentality — focusing purely on how oil drilling is supposed to work and casting a noticeably blind eye on the consequences of when drilling goes terribly, terribly wrong.

The game itself is (predictably) dry and boring, and not likely to interest teenagers unless they’re a budding geology major or have visions of working long, hard hours isolated on a rig in the ocean.

It’s pretty clear the game is meant to create a new audience for the same old, tired propaganda, drilling is good! with a little science thrown in for future oil industry workers. Hopefully, if any teens DO choose to download the game, they’ll spend their time thinking up better ways for us to create energy instead of plundering what’s left of the earth’s natural resources. If nothing else, the game itself is a good primer of how the drilling process works. Maybe the green energy industry can create something similar for our future scientists to explore.

Big Oil has been pumping out propaganda for over half a century. Here’s a breakdown on the “stories” they told our mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other previous generations:

Hopefully, one day soon, their story will change to include collaborative efforts with the green energy industry. (Change we must, or die we will!)

You can download The Quest for Oil here. 

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