AP®︎/College Environmental science
Distribution of natural energy resources
Review your understanding of the distribution of natural energy resources in this free article aligned to AP standards.
- Many energy sources, such ores, coal, crude oil, and gas, are extracted from natural deposits in the Earth. However, these deposits are not uniformly distributed throughout the world. The presence of an energy source in a specific area is largely determined by that area's geologic history.
- Countries use geologic and engineering data to calculate their proven reserves for an energy resource. A proven reserve is an estimate of the amount of a resource that can be obtained from an area in an economically profitable manner.
- The countries with the largest proven reserves of coal are the United States, Russia, China, Australia, and India.
- The countries with the largest proven reserves of crude oil are Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. These are three of the thirteen member countries in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who together control over 80% of the world's proven oil reserves.
- The countries with the largest proven reserves of natural gas are Russia, Iran, and Qatar.
- Countries that have natural deposits of an energy source can be producers of that resource. When a country produces a resource, the country extracts and prepares that resource for use and sale.
- The countries that produce the most coal are China, the United States, and India.
- The countries that produce the most oil are the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates.
- The countries that produce the most natural gas are Russia and the United States.
A world map shows that the United States, Russia, China, Australia, and India have the largest proven reserves of coal. The map is titled Coal reserves, 2021. The map says Proved reserves is generally taken to be those quantities that geological and engineering information indicates with reasonable certainty can be recovered in the future from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions.
Want to join the conversation?
- How is US able to produce all three resources, but none of the other countries are able to?(2 votes)
- How is the US able to produce all three resources even though some of the reservoirs are not in the US? How does the US have claims to all these resources when they are in other countries/what kind of deals do they have?(2 votes)
- How is the amount of resource reserve estimated?(2 votes)
- Why don't some countries have laws for energy usage to limit ourselves and help other nations?(1 vote)
- I don't understand how is the U.S producting more oil then they big countries.(1 vote)
- How can the US produce these resources but many/all countries can’t?(1 vote)
- how much of each resource does the US have? it was only listed as one of the highest proven reserves for coal, so what how soon until we run out?(1 vote)
- Scientists work day and night to calculate when a resource will be depleted, but that date is dependent on how many people start changing to renewable energy, and when they do that.(1 vote)