BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe


Amongst the fossil energy resources, coal has the largest global total resources by far.

With a share of around 26 % of global primary energy consumption, coal was the second most important energy resource in 2016 behind crude oil. Coal accounted for a share of 38.3 % of global power generation in 2015, and was therefore the most dominant energy resource in this sector.

Coal is the most important domestic energy resource in terms of reserves and production in Germany.

Confirmed coal reserves world-wide at the end of 2016 totalled 1,032 gigatonnes (Gt), split between 716 Gt hard coal and 317 Gt lignite. Coal resources world-wide are many times higher than coal reserves. Global resources of hard coal totalled 17,708 Gt, whilst the global resources of lignite totalled 4,424 Gt. Global coal production in 2016 was around 7.3 Gt, of which around 6.3 Gt were accounted for by hard coal. The reserves and resources of hard coal and lignite will be able to cover the foreseeable demand for many decades from a geological point of view.

The largest hard coal importing countries in 2016The largest hard coal importing countries in 2016 Source: BGR

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