Le filon du Brésil

SÃO PAULO – Le Brésil est prêt à prendre sa place au sein des puissances pétrolières mondiales. Les estimations de ses nouvelles réserves le placent à la huitième place des pays producteurs de pétrole, devant le Nigeria et devant son rival dans le champ d’influence d’Amérique latine, le Venezuela. Normalement, la découverte d’une telle richesse devrait donner lieu à des réjouissances. Mais le président brésilien Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, craignant sans doute la célèbre “malédiction des ressources” qui a frappé le développement de tant de pays riches en minéraux, est bien décidé à ce que cette nouvelle fortune pétrolière ne se transforme pas en “n’importe quoi.”

En 2007, d’immenses gisements pétroliers ont été découverts au large de la côte brésilienne. Des estimations modestes ont calculé que ces réserves se montaient à environ 30 milliards de barils. Le Crédit Suisse et d’autres banques d’investissement prévoient l’exploitation possible de 50 milliards de barils.

Cette découverte est le produit d’une stratégique politique maintenue au cours de plusieurs administrations brésiliennes successives, fait inhabituel en Amérique latine. En 1989, alors que la guerre Iran-Irak faisait trembler les nations consommatrices de pétrole, le Brésil partit à la recherche de sources d’énergie à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur de sa zone marine protégée de 200 miles. La taille des superficies océaniques impliquées était si gigantesque qu’on les qualifia “d’Amazonie bleue.”

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