Friday, June 27, 2008

Black Gold & Ice Road Truckers

I've been intrigued by these two reality shows; the second season of Ice Road Truckers on the History Channel and the inaugural season of Black Gold on truTV. They both have a lot in common: both are produced by the same guy who brought you The Deadliest Catch, both feature really dangerous jobs and both highlight the difficulty of retrieving the fossil fuels on which our everyday lives depend. Both do a good job of driving this home, as well as featuring enough characters and typical reality show drama to keep it interesting.

Ice Road Truckers

In Alaska and northern Canada, there are a number of mining, oil drilling, and natural gas extraction sites. These operations are only accessible by truck for a short windows during the winter months...on frozen ice roads constructed on rivers or the arctic ocean. Ice Road Truckers follows several of the brave drivers that haul many tons of equipment hundreds of miles over only several feet of ice. It is dangerous work, but there is big money to be made...the drilling and mining operations desperately require the equipment and supplies they haul. Without them, the operations quickly grind to a halt and they are unable to provide their products to the world.

Black Gold
Black Gold is a look at Texan 'wildcat' oil rig operations. It follows three competing derricks and the teams of 'drillers' and 'roughnecks' that operate them, providing insight into the dangerous and dirty job of recovering oil. This show demonstrates the numerous difficulties in these operations; the rigs are expensive to operate ($2000 per hour), the work is extremely dangerous and a seeming infinite number of problems can arise. There is also a cameo appearance by Matthew Mcconaughey's brother, Rooster. Rooster is an oil pipe supplier, and apparently a heavy drinker/skeet shooting enthusiast. See more here

Both of these programs highlight the increasing difficulties that we will continue to face as fossil fuels become more scarce. We will have to drill deeper and in more harsh climates than ever before. Men such as these will be the trailblazers that make it possible.


Anne Laurence said...

I love the irony that oil companies claim fossil fuels don't cause global warming but their own ice roads are now inaccessible for longer portion of the year due to....warming!!!!

Chief said...

I agree it would be ironic if the very substance they are retrieving makes it impossible for them to retrieve it.