It has been reported that Xcite Energy is saying that the Bentley Oilfield, 100 miles east of Shetland contains 250 million barrels (recoverable) of oil and gas, which is more than double the original estimate. The Bentley field, like the Clair, was discovered in the 1970s when the technology to extact its heavy crude wasn't around. Extraction is planned to begin in 2015 and they hope to be producing 2 million barrels a day by 2017.
A point worth making here I feel, is that we are subsidising them! Tax breaks for the offshore industry are important. We are living under austerity and the Oil and Gas industry is about the most profitable industry there is, yet we are foregoing tax revenue to subsidise their profit and extraction and processing of this heavy crude, knowing that it will just add to the real oncoming crisis of climate change.
While we may look towards the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, as a sort of model. It is worth remembering that the process of getting there took around 20,000 years and we are talking about getting there within a century. Also, as James Hansen has pointed out, the Sun is warmer now. There is no guarantee we will not tip the planet into runaway climate change and end up like Venus.
So we face a very real crisis and we really cannot afford to continue doing this, it amazes me that we still are.
Something that I feel sort of connects to this is the ideas around protest. I think that mass demonstrations and petitions need to be a warning. There needs to be an "or else" and that "or else" needs to be followed through on. Without that I feel that in the face of all the profit and political donations and "the national economic interest", it is likely to fail. Look at the protests aginst the invasion of Iraq, look at The Wave.... Do the government and the Oil executives feel scared? Are they concerned about the consequences of their actions? I think not. I feel that until they believe that there will be real consequences then they will not change their actions. And we do not have the time to wait. So I have to say that I feel groups like Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Sea Sheperds, Anonymous, Rising Tide, Earth First and Deep Green Resistance have it right. We have to fight this.