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3000 Billion Tons Of Coal For 3000 Years (And That’s Just In Norway)

Musings of the Chiefio

One can only wonder how much more coal is under the ground and water of the world.

An interesting story that came up from somewhere (where I have forgotten). I’ve been intending to make a posting about it, linking it to other coal deposits elsewhere. But I’m a bit short of time, so I’m just going to point it out here and quote a couple of little bits.

The basic point is that there’s a heck of a lot of fossil fuels in the world. Loads of it. In 2005 they found 3000 billion tons of the stuff near Norway. Yes, it is under water and nearly impossible to mine at present. But technology changes. Whenever it is desirable enough, we can send small robotic mining machines down to get it.

3000 billion tons of coal off Norway’s coastline

by R.J.Wideroe, J.D.Sundberg, originally published by Verdens Gang | Dec 28, 2005

Fifty years from now, oil producing rigs could be setting coal on fire far below the sea, rather than pumping oil.

Burning coal where it is is one way Norwegian oil company Statoil thinks that the vast coal-reserves on the Norwegian shelf can be utilized.

This summer, students from Norwegian University of Science and Technology analyzed data from 600 wells drilled on the Norwegian Shelf of the North Sea. They calculated that there are 3000 billion tons of coal off the Norwegian coast. Most of the reserves are located at Haltenbanken. This compares to today’s proven and recoverable world reserves of 900 billion tons of coal.

So if world reserves are about 250 years worth, that makes it about 750 years more for a total of about 1000 years worth of coal.

They are suggesting sub-surface gasification, which is an interesting idea. Then the gasses could be run through a F-T synthesis at the surface to make liquid fuels, if desired, or just piped off to burn in place of natural gas. (Such “producer gas” was commonly used in homes and such in the 1800s.)

Because it is not economical to recover that coal at present, it is not counted as part of “reserves”. It is part of “ultimate resources” that are typically ignored by “the end of the world” folks.

One can only wonder how much more coal is under the ground and water of the world.

Full story