When will fossil fuel reserves be diminished?

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Publication date: 2009-01-01
First Published in: Energy Policy
Authors: S.Shafiee, E. Topal


Crude oil, coal, and gas are the main resources for world energy supply. The size of fossil fuel reserves and the dilemma that “when non-renewable energy will be diminished” is a fundamental and doubtful question that needs to be answered. This paper presents a new formula for calculating when fossil fuel reserves are likely to be depleted and develop an econometrics model to demonstrate the relationship between fossil fuel reserves and some main variables. The new formula is modified from the Klass model and thus assumes a constant compound rate and computes fossil fuel reserve depletion times for oil, coal, and gas of approximately 35, 107 and 37 years, respectively. It means that coal reserves are available up to 2112, and will be the only fossil fuel remaining after 2042. In the Econometrics model, the main exogenous variables affecting oil, coal, and gas reserve trends are their consumption and respective prices between 1980 and 2006. The models for oil and gas reserves unexpectedly show a positive and significant relationship with consumption, while presenting a negative and significant relationship with price. The econometrics model for coal reserves, however, expectedly illustrates a negative and a positive and significant relationship with price. Consequently, huge reserves of coal and low-level coal prices in comparison to oil and gas make coal one of the main energy substitutions for oil and gas in the future, under the assumption of coal as a clean energy source.

Published in: Energy Policy, Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 181-189
Available from: ScienceDirect

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