Fossil energy resources - POLES

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Model Documentation - POLES

Corresponding documentation
Previous versions
Model information
Model link
Institution JRC - Joint Research Centre - European Commission (EC-JRC), Belgium,
Solution concept Partial equilibrium (price elastic demand)
Solution method SimulationRecursive simulation
Anticipation Myopic

The POLES model differentiates various types of fossil fuels:

  • oil: conventional, tar, heavy and oil shale / onland & shallow, deepwater, artic;
  • gas: conventional, shale gas / onland & shallow, deepwater and artic;
  • coal: steam and coke.

The description below gives elements for oil, but they can be extended to gas and coal.

Figure 1: Static aggregated oil production cost curve

While this figure gives an aggregated static cost curve, the model actually uses dynamic cost curve per resource type integrating the cost of energy needs for production for each production country/ region. Consequently POLES fossil fuel cost curves thus evolve over time, by region and with the scenario settings (for instance: a CO2 pricing will affect the production cost of tar sands).

The supply module transforms resources into reserves through discovery effort (exploration and drilling) that depends on remaining resources, the (dynamic) production cost curve and international fuel prices, through elasticities that capture openness to investment and resource management strategies.

Reserves are then turn into production depending on remaining reserves, the (dynamic) production cost curve and international fuels prices.

Figure 2: Reserves discovery process in POLES (URR: ultimate Recoverable Resources, DISOIL: Discovery of oil)

The model has been used in several studies of the role of fossil fuel resources and in low-carbon transition pathways12, particularly in the aspects of energy security345.

Sources of information include: BGR6, USGS7, IEA8, Enerdata9, WEC10, MIT, industry estimates


  1. ^  | | |  Nico Bauer, Valentina Bosetti, Meriem Hamdi-Cherif, Alban Kitous, David McCollum, Aurélie Méjean, Shilpa Rao, Hal Turton, Leonidas Paroussos, Shuichi Ashina, others (2015). CO 2 emission mitigation and fossil fuel markets: dynamic and international aspects of climate policies. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 90 (), 243-256.
  2. ^  |  Paul Dowling, Peter Russ (2012). The benefit from reduced energy import bills and the importance of energy prices in GHG reduction scenarios. Energy Economics, 34 (), S429-S435.
  3. ^  |  Philip Andrews-Speed, Coby van der Linde, Kimon Keramidas (2014). Conflict and cooperation over access to energy: Implications for a low-carbon future. Futures, 58 (), 103-114.
  4. ^  |  David McCollum, Nico Bauer, Katherine Calvin, Alban Kitous, Keywan Riahi (2013). Fossil resource and energy security dynamics in conventional and carbon-constrained worlds. Climatic Change, 123 (), 413-426.
  5. ^  |  Kitous A, Saveyn B, Gervais S, Wiesenthal T, Soria Ramirez A (2013). Analysis of Iran Oil Embargo. [1]. Seville, Spain: European Commission - Joint Research Centre.
  6. ^  |  Energy Study 2015. Reserves, Resources and Availability of Energy Resources. 2015. [1]
  7. ^  |  World Petroleum Assessment. US Geological Survey. 2013. [1], [2]
  8. ^  |  IEA online energy statistics. International Energy Agency. 2015. [1]
  9. ^  |  Global Energy & CO2 Data. Enerdata. 2015. [1]
  10. ^  |  World Energy Resources, 2013 Survey. World Energy Council. 2013. [1]