UK, France to Run Out of Oil, Coal, Gas in Few Years

Society » ENVIRONMENT | May 16, 2014, Friday // 15:24
Bulgaria: UK, France to Run Out of Oil, Coal, Gas in Few Years Photo by

Bulgaria will have run out of coal in 34 years, while Britain will have no oil, coal and gas reserves in just over five years, researchers have warned.

A report by the Global Sustainability Institute said shortages would increase dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia. France fares even worse, according to the report, with less than a year to go before it runs out of all three fossil fuels. Germany, it was claimed, has 250 years of coal remaining but less than a year of oil.

Some countries have no oil reserves of their own, or very little such as Japan, and are entirely dependent on the world market and market prices. Other countries, such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, have more than 300 years of oil left at their 2010 rates of internal consumption. Kuwait has more than 700 "years left", the report says.

The greatest concentration of oil reserves and production is observed in the Middle East, and the highest rates of consumption per head in Western Europe, North America, and Japan.

The data on coal makes one trend very clear that the abundance of coal is in key emerging markets such as Russia, India, China, Latin America and Africa. In addition the US, Canada and Australia have significant coal reserves. Therefore, the world is likely to continue to be able to exploit coal in energy production, either directly or through the conversion of coal into gas or liquid fuels. However, climate change agreements and legislation may impact on the feasibility of coal as a future energy source.

The same issue of relatively small reserves and low reported consumption resulting in high "years left" figures, as was seen with oil, also occurs for coal in countries such as Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger.

Mexico had 6 years left of natural gas in 2010 and the USA -11, however USA figures have risen recently as a result of the development of extraction from shale gas deposits and may rise further as further reserve are proven.

Countries, such as Qatar with over 1000 "years left" in 2010, Norway with 420 years, and Russia 108 years, have significant capacity to export natural gas, the report has shown.

The Global Sustainability Institute's research covers environmental, societal and economic challenges facing the world.

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Tags: coal, oil, natural gas, Bulgaria, Global Sustainability Institute, energy, liquid fuels, reserves, Russia, UK, Norway, US
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