Rustam Makhmudov, Independent Researcher (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)


In recent years, significant funds have been invested in creating and improving new sources of energy (wind and solar energy, the production of bio fuel, and so on), however most experts admit that there is still no alternative to oil and natural gas. Moreover, the importance of oil and gas resources will continue to increase even more in the next few years, particularly after the accident at Japans Fukusima-1 Nuclear Power Plant, which has revitalized the problem of nuclear energy safety. The world (particularly Europe) has been calling loud and clear for the operation of nuclear power plants to be halted and the use of nuclear energy to be eliminated altogether. If the use of nuclear energy declines, global oil and natural gas consumption will most certainly increase, as its steady rise in past decades already confirms.

According to the forecast of the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2010, the amount of oil consumed by the world economy rose by 2.8 million barrels and reached a level of 87.8 million barrels a day. In 2011, this index is expected to exceed 90 million barrels for the first time in history. Of course, this figure is slightly lower than the earlier forecast due to the global financial-economic crisis of 2008-2009.

The future of the global energy industry is being increasingly linked to natural gas, which is considered to be a more environmentally pure fuel and the reserves of which are still far from exhausted. According to the report of Americas Exxon Mobil, the consumption of natural gas will increase three times faster compared to oil and coal, since the developing countries will be trying to bring electricity to the homes of billions of people. At the same time, the rich states will begin replacing their aging coal plants with gas plants. According to the report, compared to the 2000 level, natural gas consumption in the world will almost double by 2030, and its share in the world energy balance will increase to 26% (in 2005, this figure amounted to 21%).

The optimistic forecasts relating to gas consumption are largely based on the data of geological surveys. In particular, in terms of growth rates, the worlds known reserves of natural gas are more than twice as high as the oil reserves. Whereas before 1970, the ratio of the worlds known oil and natural gas reserves (in terms of oil equivalent) amounted to approximately 70:30, by 1990, this ratio had shifted to 55:45; and in 2009, these indices became essentially equal (50:50). If the proven gas reserves in the world are viewed in cubic meters, at the end of 2009, for example, they amounted to 187.43 trillion; at current consumption rates, this amount would last for 63 years.

The forecasts of oil and natural gas consumption and reserves point to the need to augment their production, both in the traditional supplier regions, as well as in new areas that are just as important for the global economy. Three countries of Central Asia (CA)Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and.

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