El rostro cambiante de la seguridad energética

Durante tres décadas, el mundo rico ha hablado de controlar su adicción al petróleo importado. Pero, a pesar de la retórica ansiosa, el problema del suministro de petróleo ha empeorado y la seguridad energética se ha vuelto más compleja. Más allá de los repetidos llamados de los políticos a la independencia energética, en los últimos 30 años Estados Unidos, por caso, duplicó su dependencia del petróleo importado, que hoy representa casi las dos terceras partes de sus necesidades petroleras.

Las amenazas de cortar los suministros de petróleo para cambiar la política exterior de un país tienen una larga historia, particularmente en lo que concierne a Oriente Medio. Los miembros árabes de la Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo instaron a un embargo en los tiempos de la guerra de 1967, pero esto tuvo un efecto reducido porque Estados Unidos, por aquel entonces, era ampliamente autosuficiente.

Sin embargo, para la guerra de Yom Kippur de 1973, un embargo petrolero árabe tuvo un impacto mayor, debido a la creciente demanda de petróleo importado por parte de Estados Unidos. El embargo hizo subir los precios y desató un período de inflación y estancamiento a nivel mundial. Esto también demostró que el petróleo es una mercancía fungible. Aunque el embargo estaba destinado a Estados Unidos y los Países Bajos, las fuerzas del mercado sacudieron el petróleo entre los consumidores y, en el largo plazo, todos los países consumidores sufrieron una escasez de suministro y la misma sacudida de los precios. Los embargos petroleros resultaron ser un instrumento desafilado que puede lastimar a muchos además de los países a los que estaban destinados.

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