Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Trends in U.S. recoverable coal supply estimates and future production outlooks
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Global Energy Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7104
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Global Energy Systems.
2010 (English)In: Natural Resources Research, ISSN 1520-7439, E-ISSN 1573-8981, Vol. 19, no 3, p. 189-208Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The geological coal resource of the U.S. is abundant and proved coal reserves are listed as the world’s largest. However, the reserves are unevenly distributed and located in a small number of states, giving them major influence over future production. A long history of coal mining provides detailed time series of production and reserve estimates, which can be used to identify historical trends. In reviewing the historical evolution of coal reserves, one can state that the trend here does not point towards any major increases in available recoverable reserves; rather the opposite is true due to restrictions and increased focus on environmental impacts from coal extraction. Future coal production will not be entirely determined by what is geologically available, but rather by the fraction of that amount that is practically recoverable. Consequently, the historical trend towards reduced recoverable amounts is likely to continue into the future, with even stricter regulations imposed by increased environmental concern.

Long-term outlooks can be created in many ways, but ultimately the production must be limited by recoverable volumes since coal is a finite resource. The geologic amounts of coal are of much less importance to future production than the practically recoverable volumes. The geological coal supply might be vast, but the important question is how large the share that can be extracted under present restrictions are and how those restrictions will develop in the future. Production limitations might therefore appear much sooner than previously expected.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 19, no 3, p. 189-208
Keywords [en]
US coal reserves, future production, peak coal
National Category
Physical Sciences Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Global Energy Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-125519DOI: 10.1007/s11053-010-9121-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-125519DiVA, id: diva2:319958
Note
This is a slightly revised and improved version of the conference paper that was presented in 2009Available from: 2010-05-20 Created: 2010-05-20 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Coal and Oil: The Dark Monarchs of Global Energy: Understanding Supply and Extraction Patterns and their Importance for Future Production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coal and Oil: The Dark Monarchs of Global Energy: Understanding Supply and Extraction Patterns and their Importance for Future Production
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The formation of modern society has been dominated by coal and oil, and together these two fossil fuels account for nearly two thirds of all primary energy used by mankind.  This makes future production a key question for future social development and this thesis attempts to answer whether it is possible to rely on an assumption of ever increasing production of coal and oil. Both coal and oil are finite resources, created over long time scales by geological processes. It is thus impossible to extract more fossil fuels than geologically available. In other words, there are limits to growth imposed by nature.

The concept of depletion and exhaustion of recoverable resources is a fundamental question for the future extraction of coal and oil. Historical experience shows that peaking is a well established phenomenon in production of various natural resources. Coal and oil are no exceptions, and historical data shows that easily exploitable resources are exhausted while more challenging deposits are left for the future.

For oil, depletion can also be tied directly to the physical laws governing fluid flows in reservoirs. Understanding and predicting behaviour of individual fields, in particularly giant fields, are essential for understanding future production. Based on comprehensive databases with reserve and production data for hundreds of oilfields, typical patterns were found. Alternatively, depletion can manifest itself indirectly through various mechanisms. This has been studied for coal.

Over 60% of the global crude oil production is derived from only around 330 giant oilfields, where many of them are becoming increasingly mature. The annual decline in existing oil production has been determined to be around 6% and it is unrealistic that this will be offset by new field developments, additional discoveries or unconventional oil. This implies that the peak of the oil age is here.

For coal a similar picture emerges, where 90% of the global coal production originates from only 6 countries. Some of them, such as the USA show signs of increasing maturity and exhaustion of the recoverable amounts. However, there is a greater uncertainty about the recoverable reserves and coal production may yield a global maximum somewhere between 2030 and 2060.

This analysis shows that the global production peaks of both oil and coal can be expected comparatively soon. This has significant consequences for the global energy supply and society, economy and environment. The results of this thesis indicate that these challenges should not be taken lightly.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. p. 102
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 760
Keywords
oil production, coal production, depletion rate, forecasting, energy supply
National Category
Physical Sciences Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Global Energy Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-129295 (URN)978-91-554-7863-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-09-24, Polhemsalen, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Ångströmlaboratoriet, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-09-03 Created: 2010-08-10 Last updated: 2015-01-08Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(755 kB)1124 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 755 kBChecksum SHA-512
3e210de752f365857a69b32c111f20a6d9c366c963cc65cbea4ae19029438270dfcf75fb574c7713fe5842c26807d438914d7cb1037d9d661e05db5bceb450b5
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full textAuthors version

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Höök, MikaelAleklett, Kjell
By organisation
Global Energy Systems
In the same journal
Natural Resources Research
Physical SciencesOther Earth and Related Environmental SciencesEnvironmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 1124 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

doi
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
urn-nbn
Total: 928 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf