How Long Will World Energy Reserve Last


To work out how long the energy resource will last, a simple calculation ignores the fact that the dwindling of proven reserves will help restore the balance and the demand will most likely still increase with time. Besides, the fact that a shortage of one resource will make people use its alternatives, reducing the durability of those alternatives

Major types of energy usage


There are three major types of energy usage: heating, transportation and electricity. Our way of life has meant that electricity consumption has been increasing faster than overall energy consumption.


Statistics on world energy usage


The development of human civilisation has always been associated with an increase in energy consumption, and that energy consumption will continue to increase.


Total energy supply (TES) by source, World 1990-2018

Total energy supply (TES) by source, World 1990-2018

  Coal (ktoe) Natural Gas (ktoe) Nuclear (ktoe) Hydro (ktoe) Wind, Solar, etc. (ktoe) Biofuels and waste (ktoe) Oil (ktoe)
1990 2,220,587 1,662,187 525,520 184,064 36,571 904,162 3,233,212
1995 2,207,669 1,806,624 608,098 212,766 42,391 967,469 3,373,297
2000 2,317,134 2,071,233 675,467 224,663 60,262 1,014,659 3,669,477
2005 2,990,601 2,360,022 721,706 252,334 70,143 1,088,960 4,010,067
2010 3,649,798 2,735,952 718,713 296,474 110,200 1,205,287 4,127,360
2015 3,842,742 2,928,795 670,172 334,851 203,821 1,271,235 4,328,233
2018 3,838,326 3,261,595 706,814 362,332 286,377 1,327,127 4,496,998


Fossil fuels dominate in supplying our energy needs. Oil and gas have lower shares in electricity generation than in energy consumption because they are also used for heating and transportation. By contrast, nuclear energy and hydropower are almost exclusively used for electricity generation.


Electricity generation around the world is heavily dependent on non-renewable energy, which contributes 70% of total generation, of which 61% comes from fossil fuels and 10% from nuclear sources. The remaining 27% comes from renewable energy, comprising of 16% from hydropower and some 1% from other renewable energy sources.

World Electricity Generation in 2020

Fossil fuel 61.3%

Non-renewable 71.4%

Renewable 27.7%

Source: BP statistical review of world energy 2021

World Electricity Consumption

Source: BP statistical review of world energy 2021

The availability of an energy resource is usually measured by the proven reserves and resources.  The situation is of particular relevance for non-renewable energy. Renewable energy is by definition sustainable, so that its use is largely limited by the cost of installing suitable equipment at available sites while balancing other needs such as other land use or preserving natural environment.


Proven oil and gas reserves has been steadily increasing 


Both proven reserves and resources depend very much on market conditions, which drive prices and exploration efforts. An increase in demand for oil, for example, will make more oil becoming economical to extract and drive technological development for oil extraction, so increasing the amount of proven reserves. The demand increase will also drive oil exploration efforts so increasing both proven reserves and resources for oil, so long as they remain small compared to the quantity that is still unknown and left unexplored. Such has been the situation historically with oil and gas and despite occasional concerns over possible shortages, the amount of proven oil and gas reserves has been steadily increasing over the last two decades.

Total proved reserves Oil

Source: BP statistical review of world energy 2021

Total proved reserves Natural Gas

Source: BP statistical review of world energy 2021

Total proved reserves Coal

Source: BP statistical review of world energy 2021