General Overview:Fossil Fuel Reserves

Fossil Fuel Reserves

In the case of fossil fuel reserves, the following question needs to be answered: There are enough fossil fuel reserves in the world to support the growing demand that has been foreseen in the future? According to Mr. Hubbert projections “world oil reserves are estimated around 2.1 billion of barrels”; but according to the projections of Mr. C. J. Campbell, of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, “oil world reserves will be around 1.8 billion of barrels.” On the other hand, the Oil and Gas journal “estimated oil world reserves in around 1.3 billion of barrels.” Despite of the different levels of world oil reserves predicted by different experts, one thing is true oil reserves are declining (Morales Pedraza 2008).

The situation regarding world coal reserves is very different. In 2009, world coal confirmed reserves were estimated at around 946.1 billion short tons (IEO 2013), enough to satisfy the world energy demands at least for the next 120– 130 years at present level of consumption. In the absence of national policies and/ or binding international agreements that would limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, world coal consumption is projected to increase from 139 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 209 quadrillion Btu in 2035, at an average annual rate of 1.5 %.

Regional growth rates are uneven, with little growth in coal consumption in OECD nations, but robust growth in non-OECD nations, particularly among the Asian economies8 (IEO 2011), where 95 % of the total net increase in world coal use will occur. Increasing demand for energy to fuel electricity generation and industrial production in the region is expected to be met in large part by coal (IEO 2010).

In the case of natural gas, there are enough reserves to satisfy the demand for the coming decades. According to OGJ, the world’s total gas reserves in 2011 were esti- mated at 235,527 trillion m3 (6,675 trillion cubic feet), about 66 trillion cubic feet (about 1 %) higher than the estimate for 2010. According to EIA sources, in 2012, the world’s total gas reserves were estimated at 241,716.87 trillion m3 (6,844.595 trillion cubic feet); this represents an increase of 2.6 % with respect to 2011.

Worldwide natural gas demand grew by 1.71 billion m3 per day from 2000 to 2007, nearly 25 % during the whole period or 3.6 % per year. The global natural gas demand is expected to grow over 12,077 billion m3 per day (342 billion cubic feet per day) by the year 2015, and a further growth in demand of around 14,020 billion m3 per day (397 billion cubic feet per day) is expected by 2025 (see Fig. 1.3).

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