Coal in the western Pacific basin: an overview

Author : E.R. Landis & J.N. Weaver
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 411-419
Volume Number : 33
Year : 1993

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 33, Nov. 1993, pp. 411-419 

Coal in the western Pacific basin: an overview


U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado


Abstract: Coal comprises about 50 percent of the conventional energy resources and about 70 percent of the fossil energy resources of the world. Asia contains about 50 to 70 percent of the total estimated coal resources of the world. The western Pacific basin of the Circum-Pacific Region contains about 20 percent of the world‘s total coal resources and is estimated to contain about 50 percent of the presently recoverable coal reserves of the world.

Coal supplies about 27 percent of the world‘s primary energy production and provides about 56 percent of the primary energy production of the western Pacific basin. Among the nations of the area, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam produce more coal than they consume. Japan, both Koreas, the Philippines and Thailand consume more coal than they produce. Within the area as a whole, coal production and consumption are both about 30 percent of the world totals. Between 1981 and 1990, primary energy consumption in the basin increased by about 150 percent, and coal consumption increased by almost 170 percent. Both energy and coal consumption are expected to increase over the next three decades as nations of the region expand their economies and focus on indigenous coal resources as a basic energy supply.

Within the western Pacific basin, the amount of information concerning coal resource potential ranges widely. Some nations (for example, Japan) place all their estimated coal resources in the proven-in-place reserve category, while others (for example, Malaysia) place only a few percent in that category. While estimates vary, depending on the philosophy and practices used, it is probable that, in many cases, the available coal database is inadequate for reliable resource assessment. Increased exploration and development activities are needed to permit realistic and accurate evaluation of energy-planning options in the basin.