Exploring the issues linked to the distribution of primary energy sources and how this links to energy security
Global energy supply
Different countries have the potential to exploit different amounts and types of energy. In general:
Saudi Arabia, Russia and the USA produce the most oil. Around 66% of global oil supplies are found in the Middle East. As technology improves, new supplies can be discovered and accessed more easily. There are huge, barely tapped reserves in South America, Africa and the Arctic.
The USA, Russia and China have the largest coal reserves. Around 70 countries have coal reserves and there is enough coal left to last for another 112 years.
Russia, Iran and Qatar have the largest natural gas reserves. At present, around 40% of the UK's natural gas comes from the North Sea, although production has decreased as profits have fallen. Globally, there is enough natural gas to last for around 50 years.
Australia, Kazakhstan and Russia have the largest uranium reserves. Uranium is a non-renewable resource used to generate nuclear power. Uranium reserves are expected to last for another 90 years.
Global energy consumption is rising. There are four main reasons for this:
Affluence – newly emerging economies (NEEs) like China are seeing the biggest growth in energy consumption. This is because the standard of living in these countries is improving and so more people are buying things like technology for the home and cars. Energy use in middle income countries (MICs) is high, but stable as populations are steady and new technologies help to conserve energy.
Population - global population is increasing. It reached 7 billion people in 2011 and it is estimated to reach 9.5 billion around 2050. Everyone uses energy and so this leads to a greater consumption of energy.
Technology - the development of new technologies means that more people are using energy. The use of mobile devices and computers has increased and these all require energy to power them.
Economic reasons - factories and offices are run using energy. As countries develop economically, they build more factories and offices for people to work in.