World Energy Council
Jan 1, 2010
This, the 22nd edition of the World Energy Council's Survey of Energy Resources (SER), is the latest in a long series of reviews of the status of the world’s major energy resources.
In 1936 the World Power Conference, the organisation which eventually became the World Energy Council, published the first of a series of Statistical Year-books. This pioneer work represented ‘an attempt to compile and publish international statistics of power resources, development and utilization, upon a comprehensive and comparable basis’. Nearly three-quarters of a century later, this essentially remains the objective of the Year-book’s direct descendant, namely the twenty-second edition of the WEC’s Survey of Energy Resources. Despite considerable development along the way, with gradually extended coverage of energy resources (notably in the field of the ‘Renewables’) and the provision of more comprehensive tables and increasingly detailed Country Notes, the basic problems facing the compilers of the Survey remain much the same. They were indeed foreshadowed by a somewhat melancholy comment in the Introduction to Statistical Year-book No. 1: ‘The work of editing the tables, and more particularly the definitions, proved even more arduous and difficult than had been anticipated’. Any review of energy resources is critically dependent upon the availability of data, and reliable, comprehensive information does not always exist. While the basis of the data compilation for the present Survey was the input provided by WEC Member Committees (in response to a questionnaire sent out in July 2009), completion necessitated recourse to a multitude of national and international sources and, in a few instances, to estimation. As was the case for previous editions of the SER, the World Energy Council has neither commissioned nor itself carried out any fresh quantification of energy resources/reserves. Notwithstanding the efforts of an UN/ECE Ad Hoc Group of Experts to codify and standardise the terminology of reserves and resources reporting (leading to the UN Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources), it remains a fact that, at the present time, almost every country that possesses significant amounts of mineral resources still uses its own unique set of expressions and definitions. It will take some considerable time for the methodology devised by the UN to be applied globally. In the meantime, the resources and reserves specified in the present Survey conform as far as possible with the definitions specified by the WEC. Whilst each major energy source has its own characteristics, applications, advantages and disadvantages, the fundamental distinction is between those that are finite and those that are, on any human scale, effectively perpetual or everlasting. The Finite Resources comprise a number of organically-based substances – coal, crude oil, oil shale, natural bitumen & extra-heavy oil, and natural gas, together with the metallic elements uranium and thorium. One type of energy resource – peat – is to some extent intermediate in nature, with both finite and perpetual elements in its make-up...