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Pérdidas históricas de las petroleras por la caída de la demanda y de los precios del crudo y gas

Las cuentas de las petroleras han sufrido un gravísimo correctivo en el primer semestre de este año por un doble motivo: la caída de la demanda por la paralización de las economías debido a la pandemia del coronavirus y el desplome de los precios del crudo y del gas. Las consecuencias han sido devastadoras, ya que la mayoría de estas compañías han sufrido pérdidas históricas al tener que valorar a la baja sus activos y, las pocas que han tenido beneficios, han visto cómo se recortaban en un elevado porcentaje. El fuerte descenso de la demanda mundial de petróleo y, sobre todo, la guerra entre Arabia Saudí y Rusia para gestionar esa situación, fue el primer detonante de esta crisis a principios de marzo. En aquellas fechas, a la ralentización de las principales economías se sumó un hecho inesperado, la aparición del coronavirus en China, el primer importador de crudo del mundo. La sobreoferta de petróleo en los mercados hizo que la cotización del petróleo bajara a la mitad en tan solo dos semanas, pasando de 50 dólares el barril de Brent a tan solo 25 dólares. En el segundo trimestre, la demanda mundial de petróleo cayó hasta los 81,84 millones de barriles diarios, casi un 18% menos que a finales de 2020, cuando llegó a rozar la cifra histórica de los 100 millones de barriles. Este desplome de la demanda no impactó de igual forma en los precios del crudo, ya que a primeros de abril la OPEP (Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo) y sus 11 aliados encabezados por Rusia se vieron forzados a aprobar un recorte histórico de su producción de 9,7 millones de barriles. Esto hizo que la cotización del petróleo Brent se mantuviera a finales de junio en 41 dólares el barril. Cabe recordar que las petroleras necesitan que el crudo esté en 60 dólares para que sus balances no sufran y el precio medido del primer semestre ha sido de 42,5 dólares el barril. En el mismo periodo del año pasado, el precio medio fue de 66,7 dólares. Los expertos apuntan que con un precio como el actual de 45 dólares el barril (unos 43 dólares el Texas), las petroleras solo pueden cubrir con su flujo de caja el 75% del dividendo. Por eso, varias de las compañías más importantes han suprimido o recortado la retribución de sus accionistas tras registrar elevadas pérdidas en el primer semestre del año. ABC Es el caso del gigante angloholandés Royal Dutch Shell, que ha perdido 15.467 millones de euros, cuando en el primer semestre de 2019 tuvo unos beneficios de 7.667, y que anunció en abril el primer recorte de su dividendo desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Peor le ha ido a la británica BP, con más de 18.000 millones de euros de pérdidas. También ha recortado un 50% el dividendo, lo que no sucedía desde hace diez años. «El semestre más difícil en la historia del sector», afirmó el consejero delegado de la italiana ENI, Claudio Descalzi, cuando presentó las cuentas del grupo del primer semestre: 7.335 millones de euros de pérdidas. Una de las compañías que mantiene el dividendo es la española Repsol, a pesar de registrar unas pérdidas de 2.484 millones de euros. Su consejero delegado, Josu Jon Imaz, ha subrayado que están cumpliendo con los objetivos del Plan de Resiliencia 2020 y que disponen de una «holgada liquidez» de casi 10.000 millones de euros. Por su parte, la francesa Total tuvo un resultado negativo de 7.064 millones de euros tras anotarse una depreciación de sus activos de 6.865 millones. En el mismo periodo del año anterior había tenido un beneficio de casi 5.000 millones de euros. Lógicamente, esta crisis del petróleo también está afectando a las arcas de los países productores y a otras empresas del sector como, por ejemplo, Halliburton, que acumula tres trimestres en negativo y en el primer semestre ha perdido 2.000 millones de euros. Así, el gobierno argelino ha desvelado unas pérdidas de 8.500 millones de euros por la caída de las ventas de petróleo y gas. La crisis también la sufren los mayores productores de crudo, como Arabia Saudí, aunque tienen músculo para sobrevivir. Su petrolera Aramco, la empresa más rentable del mundo, ganó en el primer semestre 19.662 millones de euros, menos de la mitad que el año pasado. No obstante, ha tenido que subir el precio de los carburantes un 11%. La gasolina de 95 octanos cuesta desde esta semana 36 céntimos de euro el litro. Y el ministro de Finanzas de Kuwait, Barak Al-Sheetan, ha advertido de que el Estado no tiene suficiente liquidez para pagar los sueldos públicos a partir de octubre si no aumentan los ingresos por la venta de petróleo.
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