O regresso do prodígio americano

Viena – como é habitual no início de um novo ano, estatísticas imponentes e prognósticos tendenciosos estão a ser anunciados em todo o mundo aos quatro ventos. Por exemplo, espera-se que em 2016 a China substitua os Estados Unidos no lugar de maior economia do mundo. E que por volta de 2040 a população da Índia terá atingido 1,6 mil milhões de habitantes, ultrapassando a China que terá estagnado uma década antes.

Talvez a projecção mais sensacional seja a de que os EUA se tornarão num exportador de energia, por volta de 2020, e que serão auto-suficientes 15 anos depois, devido à oferta abundante de gás de xisto de baixo custo e à descoberta de reservas gigantescas de petróleo em todo o lado, desde a Dakota do Norte até ao Golfo do México. Apesar da oposição dos grupos ambientalistas, estas reservas serão mais fáceis de explorar do que as da Europa, pois a grande maioria localiza-se em zonas pouco povoadas.

Como resultado, a energia será significativamente mais barata nos EUA do que na Europa ou na China, num futuro previsível. Na verdade, a extracção de gás de xisto é tão favorável a nível económico que até mesmo o gás norte-americano que fosse exportado para a Europa custaria menos 30% do que o valor que a gigante energética russa Gazprom cobra actualmente.

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