Energy Study 2015. Reserves, Resources and Availability of Energy Resources - Summary
The Energy Study 2015 – Reserves, resources and availability of energy resources is the basis for providing advice on natural resource issues to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology (BMWi) and German industry as a whole.
Considered overall on the basis of the knowledge currently available, there are still extensive volumes of fossil fuels from a geological point of view. There is still enormous potential in all regions around the world on the basis of an assessment of the global reserves and resources, and the already consumed energy resources. Whilst the potential hardly appears to have been touched in Austral-Asia, CIS and North America – and even in Europe, only a small percentage has been produced to date. This wealth in resources is primarily founded on the huge coal deposits which are present on all continents and, unlike conventional crude oil and natural gas, are not concentrated in very localised regions. This means that the Middle East region which is extremely important in terms of oil and gas, only has a relatively minor total potential.
The largest proportion of the non-renewable global energy resources is defined as resources, and exceeds the reserves by a factor of more than 15. This applies to all types of energy resources with the exception of conventional crude oil – a fact which highlights the special role played by this energy resource.
The energy content of all reserves in 2014 totalled 37,934 GJ, and has therefore grown slightly by almost 0.8 % year-on-year. Whilst the reserves of hydrocarbons rose slightly despite another rise in production, the inventories of coal and nuclear fuels declined as a result of re-evaluations. When looked at in terms of extractable energy content, coal is the dominant energy resource – particularly in the case of resources, but also in terms of reserves.
On the other hand, crude oil continues to dominate consumption and production, and is only in second place behind coal in terms of reserves because of its larger non-conventional share compared to natural gas. In the overall visualisation of the global energy mix, i.e. the actual amount of consumed energy including renewables, there is still a significant dominance by fossil fuels. From a geological point of view, the known inventories of energy resources can maintain a comfortable supply situation in the long term as well with respect to natural gas, coal, and nuclear fuels. Crude oil is the only energy resource where there are signs of an approaching limit.