17 November, 2011: A helicopter gunship attack, possibly by al-Qaida militants, has disabled the world’s largest crude processing facility in Saudi Arabia, turning the sky a bright fiery orange and knocking out a significant chunk of global oil supply.

In Washington, the national security team assembles to advise the president on how best to reassure the public and stop the US sliding back into recession. Their solution? Drill more American oil.

One month on, the crisis intensifies. Iran and Venezuela threaten to choke off oil supplies, pushing oil prices to $200 a barrel. The reaction once again: drill more American oil.

Oil ShockWave, a crisis war game, took place on Wednesday in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom about a mile from the real White House. George Bush’s former deputy secretary of state John Negroponte, a former Carter administration official and former Shell chief executive were playing fictional cabinet officials. They acknowledged America had become hostage to its need for oil – and yet they couldn’t quite seem to break away.