Décrochons du pétrole !

La chancelière Angela Merkel a fait de la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique la grande priorité des présidences allemandes de l’Union européenne et du G8 qui débutent en janvier. Sa proposition concrète est assez générale pour que les dirigeants en tiennent compte et l’acceptent, et assez claire pour que les autres gouvernements et les entreprises la comprenne : lors du prochain sommet du G8, il faudra tout simplement fixer une date à partir de laquelle les véhicules fonctionnant à l’essence ne seront plus immatriculés dans les grands pays industrialisés.

Cette décision aura un impact positif considérable aux niveaux géopolitique et économique. Aujourd’hui, la véritable inquiétude en matière d’énergie n’est pas liée à la diminution des réserves mondiales de pétrole, mais plutôt au déclin de la production interne des plus gros consommateurs – l’Europe, les Etats-Unis et la Chine –, au moment même où la demande croissante de l’Asie grève le marché. Les réserves disponibles se concentreront davantage au Proche-Orient, car celles des autres régions du monde seront bientôt à sec.

Qui plus est, les grands exportateurs de pétrole ne sont pas disposés à soumettre leurs politiques d’investissement aux conditions du marché. L’Arabie saoudite veut gérer seule sa production de pétrole et, de son côté, l’Iran fait peur aux investisseurs potentiels avec ses obstacles bureaucratiques et sa corruption. L’Irak souffre d’un manque de sécurité, tandis que les étrangers sont mis en échec à chaque tentative d’investissement en Russie. Ces quatre États contiennent la moitié des réserves de pétrole mondiales, dont deux tiers pourraient potentiellement être exportés. Ces facteurs, hormis les coûts de production, sont à l’origine des prix élevés du pétrole et de la course pour les contrats en Afrique et en Asie centrale.

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