低油价的契机

发自华盛顿特区——最近的油价下跌很可能会为全球经济带来重大且在很大程度上正面的影响——甚至要比绝大多数观察家们所意识到的更为深远。事实上,如果各国政府能利用当今的低油价去推行极为关键的能源政策改革,所收到的好处或将改善这些国家经济在未来的结构性特征。

而油价下跌的影响至今仍被低估的一个主要原因就是没人知道这一状况究竟将持续多久。与此同时,过去的油价变动事实上在这方面也只有极小的借鉴意义。当油价在2008年下跌时,随后的反弹是如此迅猛,以致专家们都还没来得及做出“新常态”的判断;而在1986~1987年间的下跌之后,油价却维持了15年的低价运行。

如今,油价的运行轨道很可能由能源博弈的一个新参与者所决定——页岩油。页岩油生产的边际成本(也就是持续从一个已有油井采油的费用)在55到70美元一桶之间。再加上5美元的利润,石油供应曲线如今在60至75美元每桶的范围内拥有一个长且近乎平行的区段。在不考虑需求的情况下。这一区间将成为油价的一个天然底部区间——可以将其称之为“页岩底部”——并很可能维持相当长的一段时间。

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