Energy supplies

The long-term availability depends not just on the reserves or resources for primary fuels but also on their annual extraction from the deposits. If the total reserves of a specific fuel are divided by the amount currently extracted or mined, this gives the reserves-to-production ratio for the respective fuel. In relation to the conditions in 2007, conventional crude oil will be available worldwide for 42 years, natural gas for 61 years, black coal for 129 years and lignite for 286 years. In relation to the reserves in 2005, uranium has a reserve-to-production ratio of 70 years. However, this represents a snapshot and assumes that the consumption, based on the existing reserves, is continued at the current level in the future. What it does not take into account is that advancements in energy-saving technology and substitution successes reduce the consumption while the discovery of new deposits, as a result of improved exploration technologies, can increase the reserves. ©BGR