E’ il titolo del nuovo studio di Leonardo Maugeri, pubblicato dal Belfer Center di Harvard presso il quale Maugeri, che aveva già pubblicato un altro studio lo scorso anno, è Research Fellow.
Del paper evidenzio, in particolare, la valutazione riguardante le ricadute geopolitiche del c.d. “boom” petrolifero statunitense:
[…] The shale revolution likely will strengthen the U.S.’s national energy security by lowering its heavy reliance on oil imports. […]
In a scenario of declining imports, the most probable victims will be the traditional suppliers of light crude to the United States, namely the West African producers (mainly Nigeria and Angola), whose supplies are going to be displaced by U.S. surging production of light oils from shale. However, another probable candidate to become a victim of U.S. growing oil production is the safest source of U.S. oil imports—Canada. […]
In geopolitical terms, therefore, the paradox of growing U.S. oil security is that it risks negatively impacting traditionally safe Western Hemisphere exporters while providing expansion opportunities for other countries seeking to step in large producing countries such as China. The Persian Gulf, the chief target of the “import-destruction” mantra of U.S. energy independence advocates, could lose shares of the U.S. market as well, but that area possesses the flexibility of turning to Asian markets to offset potential losses.
The major problem for Persian Gulf producers and the entire Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will not be the U.S. shale oil revolution per se (although this is and will be a major issue for the African members of OPEC) but the combined effect of a steady growth of the world’s oil production capacity face to a sluggish growth of the demand for oil.53 In this framework, the key issue for OPEC over the next few years will be how much spare capacity—e.g., unused oil production capacity—it will be able to manage without encountering growing tension among its members: Above all, this problem impacts the future policies of Saudi Arabia, which is the largest holder of spare capacity globally by far. So far, the problem of spare capacity has been partially eased by the international sanctions against Iran that have dramatically reduced the country’s oil exports and made room for other countries’ on the market. Without those sanctions, the additional exports of Iran would have likely derailed the oil market.
Broadly speaking, the rise in U.S. shale oil will take other victims too, but the kill list will be determined by cost and price, not politics. This is because U.S. oil refiners are the buyers of crude oil, not politicians, and refiners first consider the price they pay and the margin they can make.
Another paradox of the U.S. shale boom is that the seemingly greatest beneficiaries today—a plethora of oil and financial companies—may be tomorrow’s victims. This distress cycle likely could occur because of the various peculiarities of shale economics and development. […]