February 23, 2013

Fossil Fuel Reserves on World Stock Exchanges

Carbontracker's Unburnable Carbon report, from which these graphics are taken, indicates that 20 to 30 percent of the market capitalization of the Australian, London, Moscow, Toronto, and Sao Paulo stock exchanges is linked to fossil fuel extraction. The reserves of listed companies, worldwide, only account for 26.6% of total world fossil fuel reserves, so this is not really a very revealing picture of the where the stuff is actually located. As Carbontracker notes, 50% of conventional oil reserves are from companies listed on stock exchanges, but the figures for other fuels are much lower: 20% of global coal reserves, 12% of unconventional oil reserves, and 10% of natural gas reserves. The low proportion of natural gas and coal listed on stock exchanges, notes Carbontracker, is due to their concentration in Russia and the Middle East.

The older map below, based on 2004 data, offers a much better picture of the world distribution of petroleum reserves, and it remains essentially accurate so far as conventional oil reserves are concerned.  The reserve figures for the Persian Gulf producers have changed very little over the past decade; the big increases are in the reported figures for Venezuelan and Canadian tar sand reserves.

The first table below shows world oil reserves by country for 2010. The second table shows reserves for 2004.


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