In Houston, at the “Davos” of energy, the United States triumphs


John Kerry, the United States' special envoy for the climate, at Ceraweek, in Houston (Texas), on March 6, 2023.

In 2022, at Ceraweek in Houston (Texas) – the oil and energy Davos organized by the financial group S&P Global, owner of the famous agency Standard & Poor’s – there was a slight air of civil war: with the invasion of Ukraine, the tankers had their revenge against the Democratic administration of Joe Biden, who had fought them in the name of the fight against global warming. Suddenly, investments were needed to lower the price of gasoline and fly to the aid of Europeans.

“It’s a shame it took the Ukraine crisis to wake up the Biden administration”railed the CEO of the oil port of Corpus Christi, Sean Strawbridge, accusing him of having “privileged ideology over pragmatism”. A year later, the Texan has become all conciliatory: “We are on a much better path, the administration has finally recognized the value of the energy sector. »

In the meantime, the United States Congress voted this summer the 369 billion dollars (349 billion euros) of all-round subsidies in favor of the energy transition (batteries, hydrogen, wind, solar, carbon capture, insulation , power grid, etc.), the famous Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and everyone was reconciled.

Under environmental cover, Mr. Biden is also asking oil companies to produce in order to reduce the price of gasoline, which could otherwise cost him his re-election, and America has united to impose the energy transition, the American version, it is that is to say strong of its inexhaustible gas and its technological progress.

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Forgotten, the Europeans so poor in energy, undermined in their competitiveness and who suffer from the restrictive environmental standards voted in Brussels like the end of heat engines: “Seen by a European, you are lucky”sighed on his podium Josu Jon Imaz, CEO of Spanish oil company Repsol on the first day of Ceraweek, March 6. “What you have here is a carrot; what we have in Europe to accelerate the energy transition is a stick. »

A lesson given to Europeans

The Americans have taken the lead, and the Europeans, furious with American subsidies, are seen as jealous, a little incoherent for having denounced American inaction for years in the fight against global warming and for now criticizing their way of acting . “You should do the same! »launched, boosted, to the Europeans, the secretary of energy of Joe Biden, Jennifer Granholm.

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