Energy crisis shakes the world (and Brazil) and threatens to resume; understand

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When stopping at a gas station gasoline two weeks ago, American John Peterson, from Oaklahoma City, was appalled: the gallon of fuel had risen to another three dollars. “We were used to cheap gasoline and this price rise is surprising”, he says. In the United States, fuel pump markdowns have not stopped since at least January, following what has happened in much of the world.

In September, a barrel of oil reached 80 dollars, the highest price in the last three years. The soaring price of natural gas draws even more attention: in Europe, increases have already reached 1,000% this year.

The rise in prices of the two inputs is behind one of the biggest energy crises of recent years, which also affects Brazil – although for different reasons. “Here, the lack of rain caused a major limitation of hydroelectric plants, and, as a result, the country has had to import more natural gas to supply thermal plants,” says Rivaldo Moreira Neto, partner at the Gas Energy consultancy. “In the rest of the world, the resumption is driving a greater search for fuel at a time when several oil companies have failed in the United States, as a result of the pandemic, and Europe is struggling to obtain natural gas.”

The input stocks were already low, especially in the Europe, when the economic recovery began. And, with industrial production on the rise, demand for natural gas soared – the product not only supplies thermoelectric plants but is also an essential raw material for some of the main European industrial sectors, such as the manufacture of fertilizers and carbonated drinks.

“In the last winter, which was long and cold, the demand for heating gas increased, which lowered inventories, and at the same time there are limitations in production in Russia and Norway”, says Laura Page, senior analyst at the multinational consultancy Kpler, in an interview with EXAME.

In the absence of gas, countries have resorted to oil, since diesel can be used in at least part of the plants. “We believe that the barrel of oil can reach 90 dollars by the end of the year, with impacts on global inflation,” says Matt Smith, oil specialist at Kpler. “Governments were perhaps not prepared for such a large increase, which is even causing disagreements on how to act to keep inflation under control and ensure fuel supply.”