World Energy Model

Part of World Energy Outlook

Techno-economic inputs

Fossil fuel resources
Remaining technically recoverable fossil fuel resources, end-2019

 

Oil (billion barrels)Proven reservesResourcesConventional crude oilTight oilNGLsEHOBKerogen oil
North America 2382 422 241 218 163 8001 000
Central and South America 293 850 245 60 50 494 3
Europe 15 115 59 19 28 3 6
Africa 126 449 308 54 85 2-
Middle East 8341 136 903 29 161 14 30
Eurasia 146 951 237 85 59 552 18
Asia Pacific 51 284 126 72 67 3 16
World1 7026 2082 118 536 6131 8681 073
Natural gas (trillion cubic metres)Proven reservesResourcesConventional gasTight gasShale gasCoalbed methane
North America 16 149 50 10 81 7
Central and South America 8 84 28 15 41-
Europe 5 47 19 5 18 5
Africa 19 101 51 10 40 0
Middle East 81 121 102 9 11-
Eurasia 77 169 132 10 10 17
Asia Pacific 22 139 45 21 53 20
World 229 810 426 80 254 49
Coal (billion tonnes)Proven reservesResourcesCoking coalSteam coalLignite
North America 2578 3891 0325 8391 519
Central and South America 14 60 3 32 25
Europe 135 979 165 411 403
Africa 15 343 45 297 0
Middle East 1 41 19 23-
Eurasia 1912 015 3431 041 632
Asia Pacific 4578 9541 5086 0321 413
World1 07020 7813 11413 6753 992
Notes: NGLs = natural gas liquids; EHOB = extra-heavy oil and bitumen. The breakdown of coal resources by type is an IEA estimate. Coal world resources exclude Antarctica. Sources: BGR (2019); BP (2020); Cedigaz (2019); OGJ (2019); US DOE/EIA (2019, 2020); US DOE/EIA/ARI(2013, 2015); USGS (2012a, 2012b); IEA databases and analysis.

The World Energy Outlook (WEO) supply modelling relies on estimates of the remaining technically recoverable resource, rather than the (often more widely quoted) numbers for proven reserves. Resource estimates are subject to a considerable degree of uncertainty, as well as the distinction in the analysis between conventional and unconventional resource types.

Overall, the remaining technical recoverable resources of fossil fuels remain almost unchanged from the World Energy Outlook-2019 (IEA, 2019a), with the exception of a revision downward for coal. Still, all fuels are at a level comfortably sufficient to meet the projections of global energy demand growth to 2040 in all scenarios.

The main adjustment to our estimates of oil resources in this edition comes in the numbers for US tight oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs). Remaining technically recoverable resources of US tight oil (crude plus condensate) in this Outlook amounts to almost 200 billion barrels, more than 25% higher than the 155 billion barrels in the WEO-2019. The resources of US NGLs, both conventional and unconventional, increase by about 20% this year to 135 billion barrels. These resource numbers are based on the most recent estimate for each play from the US Energy Information Administration.

In the case of natural gas, the worldwide resource numbers are largely unchanged, with the exception of the US shale gas resources. These are higher in this Outlook at 50 trillion cubic metres (tcm), a 16% increase from the level in the WEO-2019.

Knowledge of the tight oil resource base continues to evolve and there is increasing understanding of the cost profile of resources between and within shale plays. While there has been a substantial increase in tight oil and shale resources in this Outlook, many of the additional resources are located in higher cost areas, which tempers the impact on the production projections.

World coal resources are made up of various types of coal: around 80% is steam and coking coal and the remainder is lignite. Coal resources are more available in parts of the world without substantial gas and oil resources, notably in Asia. In this year’s estimates, there is a noticeable decrease in resources in Eurasia, stemming from revisions to the coal resource base in Russia.

Power generation technology costs
Technology costs by selected region in the Stated Policies Scenario

 

 

 

Capital costs ($/kW)

Capacity factor (%)

Fuel and O&M ($/MWh)

LCOE
($/MWh)

VALCOE ($/MWh)

 

 

2019

2040

2019

2040

2019

2040

2019

2040

2019

2040

United States

Nuclear

5 000

4 500

90

90

30

30

105

100

105

100

Coal

2 100

2 100

60

60

25

30

75

75

75

75

Gas CCGT

1 000

1 000

50

50

30

40

55

65

55

65

Solar PV

1 220

680

21

23

10

10

50

30

55

40

Wind onshore

1 560

1 440

42

44

10

10

35

35

40

40

Wind offshore

4 260

2 160

41

48

35

20

115

55

110

60

European Union

Nuclear

6 600

4 500

75

75

35

35

150

110

145

115

Coal

2 000

2 000

40

40

70

90

130

150

120

130

Gas CCGT

1 000

1 000

40

40

60

85

90

115

75

80

Solar PV

840

490

13

14

10

10

55

35

60

65

Wind onshore

1 560

1 420

28

31

15

15

55

50

55

60

Wind offshore

3 800

2 040

49

59

15

10

75

40

80

50

China

Nuclear

2 600

2 500

80

80

25

25

65

60

65

60

Coal

 800

 800

60

60

45

60

55

75

55

65

Gas CCGT

 560

 560

50

50

75

90

85

105

80

95

Solar PV

790

450

17

19

10

5

40

25

40

50

Wind onshore

1 220

1 140

25

27

15

10

50

40

50

45

Wind offshore

3 000

1 640

32

44

25

15

100

45

100

45

India

Nuclear

2 800

2 800

80

80

30

30

70

70

70

70

Coal

1 200

1 200

60

60

30

30

55

55

55

50

Gas CCGT

700

700

50

50

60

70

70

85

70

65

Solar PV

610

350

20

21

5

5

35

20

40

45

Wind onshore

1060

1 120

26

29

10

10

50

45

55

50

Wind offshore

3 140

1 700

29

38

25

15

130

60

130

65

Note: O&M = operation and maintenance; LCOE = levelised cost of electricity; VALCOE = value-adjusted LCOE; kW = kilowatt; MWh = megawatt-hour; CCGT = combined-cycle gas turbine. LCOE and VALCOEs figures are rounded. Lower figures for VALCOE indicate improved competitiveness. Sources: IEA analysis; IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance; IRENA (2020).
Technology costs by selected region in the Sustainable Development Scenario

 

 

 

Capital costs ($/kW)

Capacity factor (%)

Fuel and O&M ($/MWh)

LCOE
($/MWh)

 

 

2019

2040

2019

2040

2019

2040

2019

2040

United States

Nuclear

5 000

4 500

90

90

30

30

105

100

Coal

2 100

2 100

60

60

65

140

115

185

Gas CCGT

1 000

1 000

50

50

40

70

65

95

Solar PV

1 220

580

21

23

10

10

50

25

Wind onshore

1 560

1 440

42

44

10

10

35

35

Wind offshore

4 260

1 960

41

48

35

15

115

50

European Union

Nuclear

6 600

4 500

75

75

35

35

150

110

Coal

2 000

2 000

40

40

95

165

150

225

Gas CCGT

1 000

1 000

40

40

50

75

80

105

Solar PV

840

440

13

14

10

10

55

30

Wind onshore

1 560

1 380

28

31

15

15

55

45

Wind offshore

3 800

1 820

49

59

15

10

75

35

China

Nuclear

2 600

2 500

80

80

25

25

65

60

Coal

800

800

60

60

65

140

75

155

Gas CCGT

560

560

50

50

75

110

90

125

Solar PV

790

390

17

19

10

5

40

20

Wind onshore

1 220

1 100

25

27

15

10

50

40

Wind offshore

3 000

1 480

32

44

25

10

100

40

India

Nuclear

2 800

2 800

80

80

30

30

70

70

Coal

1 200

1 200

60

60

30

30

55

55

Gas CCGT

700

700

50

50

45

45

60

60

Solar PV

610

310

20

21

5

5

35

15

Wind onshore

1060

980

26

29

10

10

50

45

Wind offshore

3 140

1 540

29

38

25

15

130

55

O&M = operation and maintenance; LCOE = levelised cost of electricity; kW = kilowatt; MWh = megawatt-hour; CCGT = combined-cycle gas turbine. LCOE figures are rounded. Sources: IEA analysis; IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance; IRENA (2020).

Major contributors to the LCOE include: overnight capital costs; capacity factor that describes the average output over the year relative to the maximum rated capacity (typical values provided); the cost of fuel inputs; plus operation and maintenance. Economic lifetime assumptions are 25 years for solar PV, onshore and offshore wind.

Weighted average costs of capital (WACC) reflect new analysis for utility-scale solar PV (see WEO-2020 Chapter 6, section 6.3.6) and for offshore wind (see Offshore Wind Outlook 2019). Onshore wind was assumed to have the same WACC as utility-scale solar PV. A standard WACC was assumed for nuclear power, coal- and gas-fired power plants (7-8% based on the stage of economic development).

The value-adjusted LCOE (VALCOE) incorporates information on both costs and the value provided to the system. Based on the LCOE, estimates of energy, capacity and flexibility value are incorporated to provide a more complete metric of competitiveness for power generation technologies (see WEO-2018, section 8.3.4).

Fuel, CO2 and O&M costs reflect the average over the ten years following the indicated date in the projections (and therefore vary by scenario in 2019).

The capital costs for nuclear power represent the “nth-of-a-kind” costs for new reactor designs, with substantial cost reductions from the first-of-a-kind projects.

WEO-2020 power generation cost assumptions and projections for additional technologies and regions in the Stated Policies Scenario and Sustainable Development Scenario are available for download below.

Access assumptions

The International Energy Agency is at the forefront of global efforts to assess and analyse persistent energy access deficit, providing annual country-by-country data on access to electricity and clean cooking (SDG 7.1). More details can be found in the SDG7 database.

Access to electricity

Energy access policies are steadily leading to progress, as the number of people without access to electricity dropped from almost 860 million in 2018 to 770 million in 2019, a record low in recent years. In India, the government announced having reached full electricity access in 2019, and effective policies have been implemented in a number of countries in Africa. Nonetheless, past progress is being reversed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In sub-Saharan Africa, while the number of people without access to electricity has steadily declined since 2013 to reach around 580 million people in 2019, it is now set to increase in 2020, pushing many countries farther away from achieving the goal of universal access by 2030.

Access to clean cooking

Updated data this year show that the number of people without clean cooking facilities has been declining gradually. Over 450 million people have gained access to clean cooking since 2010 in India and China, as a result of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) programmes and clean air policies. The challenge in sub-Saharan Africa remains acute, with a deteriorating picture: only 17% of the population have clean cooking access. In total, more than 2.6 billion people worldwide still do not have access, and household air pollution, mostly from cooking smoke, is linked to around 2.5 million premature deaths annually. The Covid-19 pandemic is putting countries further away from reaching universal access to clean cooking.