Reserves of energy carriers are clearly identifiable stock which can be technically and economically mined under today’s conditions or those to be expected in future. Resources are stock exceeding the reserves. They have been verified or are probable, but cannot be obtained at present for technical and/or economical reasons. The resources also include deposits that are not yet verified, but geologically possible. Thus, it is assumed that oil is bound in oil sands and oil shales, the mining of which is however uneconomical in view of the present price structure. The guaranteed and economically minable energy reserves as of 2006 of natural gas, mineral oil, uranium and coal world-wide amount to the following quantities:

  • Natural gas > 245 billion t coal equivalent
  • Mineral oil/shales/liquid gas > 239 billion t coal equivalent
  • Natural uranium > 36 billion t coal equivalent
  • Coal (all forms) > 748 billion t coal equivalent.

The world total annual energy consumptions amount to 17 billion coal equivalent.