ECN publication
Voorraden en prijzen van fossiele brandstoffen: schattingen en projecties voor de 21ste eeuw met het oog op klimaatbeleid
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 1-7-1999
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-C--99-022 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
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This study focuses on fossil fuel resource availability and on long-termprices of fossil fuels, in the context of a few energy scenarios for Western Europe and the world which assume a rather strong emphasis on energy efficiency improvements and non-fossil supply options. A distinction is made between 'identified' and 'additional' resources. Identified and additional oil resources have a total reserve/production ratio of about 130 years. Identified and additional conventional gas resources have a reserve/production ratio of about 140 years. Unconventional gas resources are presumably very large, although the margins of uncertainty are larger than in case of other additional resources. Identified coal reserves have a reserve/production ratio of about 220 years. Fossil fuel resources, energy demand, fuel production cost, production rates, and fuel prices have complex relations. In the case of coal, the relation between cost and price is relatively direct because the resources are large and distributed among various regions and only some 10% of the global production is internationally traded. Coal reserves with high production cost are left unmined. With oil the situation is more complex and less stable. The cheap oil occurrences are concentrated in a few regions and past oligopolistic behaviour has led to the exploitation of oil provinces with relatively high cost. Hence, part of the global oil production shows a large margin between production cost and the international world market price that is largely determined by the marginal production cost of new oil production capacity. The same situation is developing for natural gas, although high transport costs are still a limiting factor in the emergence of a world market. The authors conclude that, in case of a scenario with stringent CO2 reduction and further globalisation of energy markets, the prices of oil and gas will probably rise quite modestly to (the equivalent of) about $23/barrel in the year 2100, which is only some $10/barrel more than the oil and gas prices of March 1999. Also the price of coal would rise very slowly under such circumstances. 48 refs.

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