BY RICARDO ERNST
Over the past year the Latin American countries that produce and export oil were greatly benefited by the high prices of international markets. However, these countries have very different energy policies that determine the growth and prosperity of their economies in the coming years and that is why they have to have an intelligent energy strategy to meet their needs as well as harness the energy market.
A successful example has been Brazil's energy policy. According to Paul Isbell of Infolatam, Brazil is the personification of the new pragmatism of energy. Brazil has reduced its dependence on oil and has diversified the source of power it consumes. 25 percent of the energy needs of the sectors of transportation use biofuels and 80 percent of electricity comes from hydropower.
In turn, Brazil has made Petrobras into an international oil company, not only for its ability to discover new offshore oil and gas areas, but to become a world leader in deep-water drilling. Thanks to this, Brazil has also become one of the countries that has gone from being dependent on imports of oil to self-sufficient and soon exporting crude.
The energy policy has given Brazil the lead in regional development and will help expand its energy revolution.
This does not mean that Brazil won’t have difficulties. Brazil must avoid the temptation to follow so many other producers of oil and gas that have gone for energy nationalism, especially once oil prices begin to rise again.
However, the short- and long-term vision that the country has chosen to take, is worthy of admiration and an important example for other countries in the region.
Dr. Ricardo Ernst is deputy dean of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and co-director of Global Logistics Research Program. He is also editor-in-chief of Globalization, Competitiveness and Governability. This column is based on his commentary on CNN en Español.