Coal Reserves in the World

Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel in the world. Grimston [3] reported that at the end of 1998, oil reserves were 143 gigatons (Gt) representing a reserve-to-production (R/P) ratio of 41 years while natural gas reserves were 132 gigatons of oil equivalent (Gtoe) with a R/P ratio of 63 years. Coal was reported to have reserves of 486 Gtoe and a R/P ratio of 218 years, roughly double that of oil and natural gas combined. Coal reserves are also more widely distributed throughout the world, as shown in Figure 1-6. All major regions of the world contain coal, except for the Middle East, which contains almost two-thirds of the world oil reserves and, along with the states of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), contains more than two-thirds of the natural gas reserves [3]. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated the reserves of recoverable coal at over 1083 billion short tons as of January 1, 2001 [2]. According to the EIA [17], this is enough coal to last approximately

Eastern Europe and FSU-290,183 million short tons

FIGURE 1-6. Distribution of recoverable coal reserves in the world.

Eastern Europe and FSU-290,183 million short tons

FIGURE 1-6. Distribution of recoverable coal reserves in the world.

230 years at current consumption levels, which is a projection similar to that reported by Grimston [3,17].

A detailed breakdown of the EIA's estimate of recoverable world coal reserves of 1083 billion short tons is provided in Table 1-4, which classifies the recoverable coal reserves for the major regions and countries of

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