De mondiale voetafdruk van de schaliegasrevolutie

MADRID – Duizenden onderhandelaars zijn momenteel verzameld op de klimaatveranderingsgesprekken van de Verenigde Naties in Warschau waar ze een blauwdruk ontwerpen voor een uitgebreide mondiale overeenkomst die in 2015 af moet zijn. Maar terwijl de onderhandelaars aan het werk zijn is het energielandschap van de wereld enorm in beweging. Gegeven dat de meeste van ‘s werelds CO2 uitstoot afkomstig is van energieproductie en transport is het cruciaal om deze verandering op de voet te volgen.

Vooral de schokgolven die ontstaan zijn door de schaliegasrevolutie in de Verenigde Staten echoën mondiaal na. Met de opkomst van het ‘hydraulic fracturing’ oftewel ‘fracking’ is de olieproductie van de VS in slechts vijf jaar met 30% gestegen en de gasproductie met 25%. Schaliegas droeg bijna niets bij aan de natuurlijke gasvoorraden van de VS aan het begin van deze eeuw, vorig jaar was het aandeel tot 34% gestegen en de ‘US Energy Information Administration’ voorspelt een verdere stijging tot 50% tegen 2040. Als gevolg van deze grote opbrengsten zijn de binnenlandse energieprijzen in de VS in elkaar gezakt.

De VS is met al zijn geografische zegeningen op weg naar zelfvoorzienendheid in energie en plukt hier duidelijke economische voordelen van. De ontwikkeling van niet conventionele olie en gas zorgde voor 2.1 miljoen banen en leverde 74 miljard dollar aan belastinginkomsten en royalty’s op voor de overheid in 2012. De industriële concurrentie heeft een hoge vlucht genomen door de veel hogere gasprijzen in Europa en Azië. Raffinaderijen en petrochemische bedrijven komen in grote getalen naar de VS toe.

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