La manera equivocada de pensar sobre el petróleo

En su último discurso sobre el Estado de la Unión, el Presidente George W. Bush declaró que “Estados Unidos es adicto al petróleo”, y anunció un programa de investigación energética que reduciría las importaciones de petróleo desde el Oriente Medio en un 75% durante las próximas dos décadas. Sin embargo, incluso si este programa tiene éxito, no aumentará demasiado la seguridad energética de EE.UU., que obtiene sólo un quinto de su petróleo del Golfo Pérsico.

Los estadounidenses no están solos en su preocupación sobre el petróleo como un problema que amenaza su seguridad. China e India, los dos países más grandes del mundo, se dan cuenta de que sus altas tasas de crecimiento económico también dependen del petróleo extranjero. Si bien ambos países consumen en conjunto un poco menos de la mitad del petróleo que consume EE.UU., su ritmo está aumentando cada vez más rápido. Cuando los países pobres consuman per cápita tanto como los países ricos, ¿habrá suficiente petróleo para todos?

Personeros chinos e indios han viajado por todo el planeta haciendo tratos financiera y políticamente costosos para asegurarse la producción de nuevos países productores de petróleo. Por ejemplo, cuando los países occidentales desalentaron los tratos de sus compañías petroleras con el gobierno de Sudán, debido a su respuesta inadecuada al genocidio en Darfur, China se apresuró a comprar el petróleo de este país.

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