When will fossil fuel reserves be diminished?

Shahriar Shafiee, Erkan Topal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

926 Citations (Scopus)


Crude oil, coal and gas are the main resources for world energy supply. The size of fossil fuel reserves and the dilemma that "when non-renewable energy will be diminished" is a fundamental and doubtful question that needs to be answered. This paper presents a new formula for calculating when fossil fuel reserves are likely to be depleted and develops an econometrics model to demonstrate the relationship between fossil fuel reserves and some main variables. The new formula is modified from the Klass model and thus assumes a continuous compound rate and computes fossil fuel reserve depletion times for oil, coal and gas of approximately 35, 107 and 37 years, respectively. This means that coal reserves are available up to 2112, and will be the only fossil fuel remaining after 2042. In the Econometrics model, the main exogenous variables affecting oil, coal and gas reserve trends are their consumption and respective prices between 1980 and 2006. The models for oil and gas reserves unexpectedly show a positive and significant relationship with consumption, while presenting a negative and significant relationship with price. The econometrics model for coal reserves, however, expectedly illustrates a negative and significant relationship with consumption and a positive and significant relationship with price. Consequently, huge reserves of coal and low-level coal prices in comparison to oil and gas make coal one of the main energy substitutions for oil and gas in the future, under the assumption of coal as a clean energy source. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnergy Policy
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

Publication series

NameEnergy Policy


  • Econometrics model
  • Non-renewable energy depletion time
  • Worldwide fossil fuel reserve

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