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Visualizing Peak Gas/Oil

2011.10.16   |   by   |   ,

People hotly debate the topic of “peak oil” and how long we have until our fossil fuel reserves run out. GE posted this natural gas data visualization based on data from the BP Statistical Survey of World Energy 2010.

The main questions that they are trying to illustrate answers to are:

  • How much natural gas is there in the world?
  • Where is it?
  • Who produces and consumes it?
  • How does it compare with other fossil fuels?
The project is a collaboration with David McCandless of Information is Beautiful. I love McCandless’s work.
In this one he uses the cyan color and only changes the areas of the squares to reflect production and consumption. Genius in its simplicity. I had never seen the calculated reserves of fossil fuels put side-by-side like in the above figure, and in one glance you get a much better understanding of where the current estimates are.

Those estimates are certainly contested, and they state in the graphic that it “does not include proven and probable reserves.” With such a complicated issue as the availability of fossil fuels, I’m glad that someone has taken the time to present those data concisely.

Check out the GE Data Visualization site for more interesting data visualizations about renewables, health, and other topics.