From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
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The Future of Coal Energy Conference, Austin, Texas, December 14, 2005

The Role of Coal in the Global Energy Future

Scott W. Tinker


A global energy scene is evolving in which the need of the international oil companies to access reserves, combined with the strong demand for energy, is stressing global energy supplies to the extent that the oil and gas companies will have to focus more attention and investment on unconventional resources-heavy oil, oil shale, tar sands, unconventional gas, hydrates, gas to liquids, coal liquefaction, coal gasification, and beyond. In this scenario coal, which has been essentially flat as a percentage of the global energy mix for the past 25 years, will begin to increase slightly in percentage terms, and along with natural gas, will very slowly displace oil in the coming century in the total hydrocarbon mix.