Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

Degree Level





Steven Boss

Committee Member

John Hehr

Second Committee Member

Adriana Potra


Applied sciences, Earth sciences, Coal, Natural gas, Petroleum, Ultimate recoverable reserves, Uranium


The global energy supply relies on non-renewable energy sources, coal, crude oil, and natural gas, along with nuclear power from uranium and these finite resources are located within the upper few kilometers of the Earth’s crust. The total quantity of non-renewable energy resources consumed relative to the total quantity available is an essential question facing humanity. Analyses of energy consumption was conducted for the period 1800 – 2014 using data from the U. S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and World Energy Production, 1800-1985 to determine the balance between non-renewable energy resources consumed and ultimately recoverable reserves. Annual energy consumption was plotted for each non-renewable resource followed by analyses to determine annual growth rates of consumption. Results indicated total energy consumption grew approximately exponentially 3.6% per year from 1800 – 1975 and was linear from 1975 – 2014.

The ultimately recoverable reserves (URR) plus the total quantity consumed to date equals the total energy resource reserve prior to exploitation (7.15 x 1018 grams). Knowing the original resource quantity and the annual consumption and growth rates, we can forecast the duration of remaining resources using different scenarios. Alternatively, we can use population growth models and consumption trends to determine the per capita allocation trends and model that into the future. Alternative modeling of future resource allocation on a per capita bases suggests that resource lifetime may be significantly less than that predicted from consumption and production dynamics alone.