Oportunidades y retos de la revolución de los hidrocarburos no convencionales

MADRID – Justo ahora se está diseñando un nuevo acuerdo global sobre cambio climático en la cumbre de la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático (UNFCCC, en sus siglas en inglés) –el 22 de noviembre termina la décimo novena conferencia de las partes, COP19, en Varsovia–, que se quiere culminar en 2015. Al hilo de la negociación, y dado que la mayoría de las emisiones de dióxido de carbono en el mundo provienen de la producción eléctrica y el transporte, merece la pena revisar la gran evolución que ha sufrido el panorama energético.

El siglo XXI será global y se definirá por la interdependencia económica. Por ello, la revolución de los hidrocarburos no convencionales –que ha provocado un auténtico terremoto– tendrá consecuencias a nivel mundial. Ya se empiezan, de hecho, a sentir. Con la explotación del fracking, y en sólo cinco años, la producción estadounidense de petróleo ha crecido un 30% y la de gas un 25%. El año pasado, el gas de esquisto representó el 34% de toda la producción de gas en Estados Unidos. La Administración de Información Energética americana (EIA, en sus siglas en inglés) prevé que represente la mitad del total de gas en 2040.

Estados Unidos va camino de la autosuficiencia energética y está ya sacando partido de los beneficios económicos que ello conlleva. La explotación del gas y petróleo no convencional generó 2,1 millones de puestos de trabajo y 74.000 millones de dólares para las arcas del Estado en 2012. Su competitividad industrial se ha disparado dado el diferencial de precio con Europa y Asia, y las refinerías e industrias petroquímicas están acudiendo en masa a Estados Unidos.

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