In growing global market for energy, coal still dominates

A surge in natural gas production in North America and regulatory assaults in the US can give the impression that coal’s future is grim. Not so, says Energy-Facts.org.

The misimpression can be especially strong in the US, where gas prices very low by international standards and regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency are displacing coal in electric power generation.

Globally, however, coal remains dominant.

An Energy Facts newsletter points out that the International Energy Agency, US Energy Information Administration, and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries all indicate “coal is on track to gain ascendancy over all other fuels within two decades.”

Coal was the most rapidly growing source of electricity in the world in the past decade, Energy Facts says. Coal-fired generation increased from 5,500 Tw-hr in 2000 to more than 8,600 Tw-hr in 2010. It will exceed 12,000 Tw-hr by 2020.

“This incremental increase in coal-based electricity will exceed the growth of gas, nuclear, wind, and solar combined,” Energy Facts says.

The outlook will not comfort anyone fearful that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere promise catastrophic warming.

But coal has advantages that environmental problems can’t annul, primarily energy density and abundance. Energy Facts cites an estimate by the German Institute for Geosciences that global coal reserves approach 1 trillion tons. It says the US Geological Survey estimates the worldwide coal resource at more than 16 trillion tons. And distribution of coal reserves over 70 countries, according to the World Coal Association, provides the security that accompanies supply-source dispersion.

Consuming nations have strong incentive to develop clean-coal technologies, Energy Facts says. And analysts expect coal use to expand to the production of steel and cement and to conversion into liquid transportation fuels, substitute natural gas, and chemicals.

Even in competition with coal, oil and natural gas will grow in the large markets where they hold form and price advantages. The world requires energy with scale proportionate to need. Energy forms with that scale contain carbon.

(Online Dec. 7, 2012; author’s e-mail: bobt@ogjonline.com)

Related Articles

EPA offers new, twisted excuse to stall Keystone XL

02/05/2015 Anyone puzzled by the delay in approval of the Keystone XL pipeline border crossing—running 6 years now, and counting—should read the Obama adminis...

After Keystone nod, Congress should okay ANWR leasing

01/30/2015 Now that it has passed legislation supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, Congress should approve oil and gas leasing of the Arctic National Wildlife...

Data refute Lew’s claims about taxes paid by producers

01/23/2015

On the subject of taxation, administration officials count on the public to believe anything.

Market watchers’ adjustments offer hints of recovery

01/16/2015 Because markets look ahead, changes in standard forecasts offer potentially important signals during storms such as the one now pummeling the oil a...

Study probes link between US dollar’s value and oil price

01/09/2015

While the US dollar’s value against other currencies influences the price of oil, the relationship is complicated.

Condensate export status a problem with easy solution

01/02/2015 Some perplexing problems have simple solutions. A problem perplexing US producers and regulators is the status of condensate relative to the longst...

For the US economy, a falling oil price has drawbacks, too

12/19/2014

Cheer in the US about an economic lift from falling oil prices needs qualification.

Can ersatz meat ease climate heat on fossil energy?

12/12/2014

Human food from animals might represent a stronger lever for climate-change mitigation than was indicated by a study reported here last week.

Study: To cool climate, eat less meat, milk

12/05/2014

Meeting stated goals for Earth’s climate requires not only using pricey energy but also spurning animal protein.

White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected