Le retour de l’enfant prodigue américain

VIENNE – Comme à l’accoutumée, chaque début d’année déverse son lot d’impressionnantes statistiques et de prévisions de tendances partout dans le monde. Par exemple, en 2016, la Chine devrait supplanter les Etats-Unis au rang de première économie mondiale. Et en 2040, la population de l’Inde sera de 1,6 milliard d’habitants, surpassant la Chine dont la population aura atteint un palier de stagnation une décennie plus tôt.

La prévision probablement la plus étonnante est que les Etats-Unis deviendront exportateurs d’énergie en 2020 et seront autonomes en matière énergétique 15 ans plus tard en conséquence de réserves abondantes de gaz de schiste peu couteux et la découverte de réserves massives de pétrole partout sur le territoire, du Nord Dakota au golfe du Mexique. Malgré l’opposition des groupes de protection de l’environnement, ces réserves seront plus faciles à exploiter que les réserves européennes, parce qu’elles sont principalement localisées sur des zones peu peuplées.

L’énergie sera donc bien moins chère aux Etats-Unis qu’en Europe ou en Chine dans un avenir proche. En effet, l’extraction du gaz de schiste comporte un tel avantage économique que le gaz américain exporté vers l’Europe coûtera même 30% moins cher que ce que facture actuellement le géant énergétique russe Gazprom.

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