Fuel Balance

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fuel Balance


the fractional composition, by type of fuel, of the total amount of fuel extracted, processed, or consumed.

Fuels accounted for 87 percent of the combined fuel and power resources of the USSR in 1974. During the period of Soviet power, the structure of the country’s fuel balance has changed radically. During the first five-year plans, coal and wood occupied the leading position among fuels produced, accounting for 73.5 percent of the total in 1940. Production of more advanced types of fuels—petroleum and natural gas—expanded after World War II. In the mid-1950’s the production of petroleum and natural gas developed at an accelerating pace. The fraction of total fuel production accounted for by petroleum and natural gas increased from 19.7 percent in 1950 to 65.9 percent in 1975. The fraction accounted for by coal decreased during this period from 66.1 to 30.8 percent.

The structure of fuel consumption in the USSR has also changed. A large portion of the total fuel consumed is used by industry and transportation; only a small fraction is used in households. The major consumers include ferrous metallurgy, machine building, the chemical industry, and the building-materials industry. Natural gas is widely used as a fuel and raw material. Between 1960 and 1974 the use of natural gas increased by a factor of 10 in the chemical industry and by a factor of more than 6 in ferrous metallurgy and machine building.

In the socialist countries coal accounted for the largest fraction of the total fuel extracted in 1974: 83 percent in Bulgaria, 88 percent in the German Democratic Republic, 95 percent in Poland, 95 percent in Czechoslovakia, and 45 percent in Yugoslavia. Only in Rumania do petroleum and natural gas constitute 80 percent of the total fuel produced. In Hungary natural gas also accounts for a significant portion—31 percent—of the fuel produced.

In 1974 petroleum and natural gas accounted for 74 percent of the total fuel produced in the USA and 92 percent in Canada. Coal is the principal fuel produced in Great Britain, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Japan; however, petroleum and natural gas occupy the leading position in consumption.


Mel’nikov, N. V. Toplivno-energeticheskie resursy SSSR. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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