Geology 1010 lecture outline - Energy Resources

Where we do obtain energy from?


What are the relative contributions of different energy sources to the energy 'picture'?

Summary of recent energy usage based on 1995 numbers from DOE report (website). I've added related environmental concerns.


What are factors determining economics of geologic resource exploitation?


How much oil is left (oil reserves and resources, future projections, and energy policy)?

Below tables taken from USGS report at http://www.usgs.gov/public/press/public_affairs/press_releases/pr1183m.html.

Table 1. Volumes of undiscovered world petroleum, by commodity, from this assessment (mean values, exclusive of the United States) and the previous USGS assessment

Commodity USGS 1993 Assessment
(Masters, 1994)
USGS 2000 Assessment
(this study)
Undiscovered oil 539 billion barrels 649 billion barrels
Undiscovered natural gas 915 BBOE *1 778 BBOE
Undiscovered natural gas liquids 90 BBOE 207 BBOE
World Total 1544 BBOE 1634 BBOE

*1BBOE = billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Table 2. Volumes of undiscovered oil and undiscovered natural gas by region, including percentages of world totals (mean values, exclusive of the United States).

Region Undiscovered oil
billion barrels
Percent of world total Undiscovered natural gas (trillion cubic feet) Percent of world total
1: Former Soviet Union 116 17.9 % 1611 34.5 %
2: Middle East and North Africa 230 35.4 % 1370 29.3 %
3: Asia-Pacific 30 4.6 % 379 8.1 %
4: Europe 22 3.4 % 312 6.7 %
5: North America* 70 10.9 % 154 3.3 %
6: Central and South America 105 16.2 % 487 10.4 %
7: Sub-Saharan Africa and Antarctica 72 11.0 % 235 5.0 %
8: South Asia 4 0.6 % 120 2.6 %
World Total* 649   4669  

* Exclusive of the United States

Note the geopolitical distribution!

Simple facts and simple-minded extrapolation: Annual consumption rate - 25 billion barrels/year global consumption. 859 Bb normal reserves. Straight line and simple minded extrapolation - <40 years of reserves left (still resources). Estimate of total from this report -> 2120 Bb oil left in ground. Perhaps < hundred years of oil resource left.

What factors will likely lengthen this estimate?

What factors will likely shorten this estimate?

U.S. position in the global context (95 DOE #s):


What are exploration techniques for hydrocarbons?

Concerns associated with transportation, refinement?

What are concerns associated with intensive fossil fuel use?


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