The energy situation is more complex than that for nonfuel minerals because we cannot as easily set aside the possibilities of and reactions to price increases, cartel actions, and technological changes. The first section of this chapter reviews the energy resource and reserve figures for the world and major subdivisions, including the United States. This is followed by an analysis of demands for and supplies of energy and important fuels in major regions of the world and the consequences of this situation for world prices of petroleum and natural gas, the two internationally traded fuels that are likely to experience large price changes in the coming years. The analysis then centers on the U.S. situation. We first discuss our projection methods and assumptions with respect to elasticities and domestic prices, then set forth our results with respect to demand, production, and imports of different fuels. The final section compares estimates of cumulative energy requirements and resources for different scenarios.
Here, as in chapter 4, reserves are defined as the portion of total resources that is known and economically recoverable on the basis of current prices and technology, prospective reserves are the portion likely to be added to reserves in the next fifty years, and resources are the sum of these two categories. Thus, prospective reserves include future discoveries that are likely to become economic because of expected price increases or technological improvements during the next fifty years. Estimates that are based on assumptions about such changes are so noted in the text.