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El petróleo barato como oportunidad para el Golfo

BEIRUT – En junio de 2014, el barril de petróleo Brent (la principal referencia del mercado internacional del crudo) se vendía a $115. Menos de dos años después el precio es $45 o incluso menos. No es de sorprender que el colapso haga significado un duro golpe  para Arabia Saudita y los reinos petroleros del Golfo, cuyos ingresos dependen en un 85% del petróleo. Es necesario que acepten que, a diferencia de las fluctuaciones del pasado, esta caída no será transitoria.

Esta “nueva normalidad” del petróleo refleja dos nuevas realidades: el crecimiento económico de China (y la consiguiente demanda de crudo) necesariamente irá a menos; la eficiencia energética mundial aumentará, no en menor medida por los compromisos alcanzados en la Conferencia de París sobre el cambio climático en diciembre pasado; y el gas y petróleo de esquisto, junto con las energías renovables, se están haciendo mucho más competitivas gracias a las revolucionarias innovaciones alcanzadas últimamente en estos ámbitos. Ahora que Irán, Libia e Irak han regresado como grandes exportadores de petróleo, los bajos precios serán inevitables y duraderos.

Arabia Saudita y los demás países del Golfo no deben desperdiciar esta crisis, que les ofrece la oportunidad perfecta de llevar a cabo amplias reformas económicas.

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