BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Energy resources

Energy resources include the fossil energy resources crude oil, natural gas and coal as well as nuclear fuels and renewable energy, including deep geothermal energy. They are crucial for our daily lives and the economy as a whole. Energy resources generate power and heat, can be used as transport fuel, and are reprocessed into a large number of products. The reliable and uninterrupted provision of energy is an essential prerequisite for the proper functioning of today's modern societies.

As a highly-developed industrial nation, Germany is one of the largest energy consumers in the world. Germany is currently expanding the generation capacities for primary energy from renewable sources as part of the implementation of its energy transition, and to comply with the obligations inherent in the Paris Climate Treaty signed in 2015. However, around 80 % of its primary energy consumption still has to be provided by fossil fuels.

Given the decline in production from domestic conventional crude oil and natural gas fields, and the imminent end of subsidised coal mining, there is a continuing decline in the level of self-sufficiency. Against this background, there is currently no foreseeable significant reduction in Germany's high dependency on imported fossil fuels.

From a geological point of view, there are still large reserves world-wide of all energy resources, with the exception of conventional crude oil. The reserves (proven economically producible deposits) of crude oil and natural gas have remained almost constant despite a rise in production. In terms of extractable energy content, coal is the dominant energy resource owing to its very large global deposits.

Germany’s import dependency and domestic supply levels for specific primary energy resources in 2005 and 2015Germany’s import dependency and domestic supply levels for specific primary energy resources in 2005 and 2015 Source: AGEB 2016, LBEG 2016, BMU 2013

Although the earth still has very large deposits of energy resources, there is no disputing that they only have a finite lifetime. In this context the main task of fossil energy resources therefore is to act as a bridge energy to safeguard the transition to an energy supply system based on renewable energy resources.

By undertaking its own scientific research and analyses, BGR makes a contribution to enhancing scientific understanding, and thus plays a part in safeguarding Germany's supplies of energy resources. BGR issues a regular report on energy resources in the form of its annually updated study "Reserves, resources and availability of energy resources" (Energy Study 2016).

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

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