BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Energy resources

It is hard to imagine our everyday life and the economy as a whole without energy fuel, mainly the fossil fuels crude oil, natural gas and coal, nuclear fuels, and the renewable deep geothermal energy. They provide power and heat, power transport, and are processed into a wide range of products. Energy resources are thus essential for a functioning economy and for maintaining our standard of living. Even as it is moving towards the energy transition, Germany will be relying on non-renewables for many years to come. About 86 % of primary energy production are from crude oil, natural gas, coal and uranium. Both in Germany and globally, geothermal energy is contributing only little to the energy supply, though it has a vast potential.

Comparison of the use of primary sources of energy and of the ratio of domestic supply to imports for Germany in 2003 and 2013, and relative shares in 2013 (based on AGEB 2014, LBEG 2014)Comparison of the use of primary sources of energy and of the ratio of domestic supply to imports for Germany in 2003 and 2013, and relative shares in 2013 (based on AGEB 2014, LBEG 2014) Source: AGEB 2014, BGR-Database

As a highly developed industrialised country and one of the world's largest energy consumers, Germany has to import most of its energy fuel. Imports account for 98 % of crude oil, 88 % of natural gas, about 87 % of bituminous coal, and even 100 % of uranium. Although energy demand in Germany has been falling for years, the country's dependency on imported energy sources will increase with the continuing decline in domestic production. Global demand for energy, however, continues to rise.
From a geological perspective, there are still large global quantities of all energy resources except conventional oil. Oil and gas reserves (economically recoverable deposits) have grown slightly despite an increase in production. In terms of the exploitable energy content, coal with its vast global quantities is the dominant energy source.
Although there are still large global deposits of energy resources, they are indisputably finite. Fossil sources of energy thus serve as a bridging energy to safeguard the transition to an energy supply based on renewable sources of energy.
With its own scientific research and analyses, BGR is helping to gain new findings, thus contributing to safeguarding Germany's supply with energy resources. In its "NiKo" project (NiKo is short for "nicht-konventionelle Kohlenwasserstoffe", unconventional hydrocarbons), BGR is studying the potential of shale gas and tight oil in Germany. The study will provide data to permit a reliable estimate of the domestic resources of unconventional oil and gas deposits. In view of the concern regarding the possible risks associated with the exploration and development particularly of shale gas deposits, the project, which is scheduled to run until mid-2015, is also addressing aspects of extraction technology, sustainable use, and environmental compatibility.

BGR reports regularly on the fossil fuel situation in its annually updated study "Reserves, resources and availability of energy resources" (Energy study 2014).

BGR is a member of the "Energy for Germany" working group of the World Energy Council (WEC).

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