While the innovators from MIT and elsewhere have some fantastic new technologies, the lead off speaker began by acknowledging an unruly and very large mammal head on: the elephant in the room. Though anyone with access to the media knows that the global economy is grinding to a halt and that investments and other capital expenditures are way down, it was a bit of a shock to hear it spoken out loud in a forum like this. Talk about boom-bust:
- Most energy infrastructure work (development and maintenance) is stalled ... worldwide
- Oil development work in US slowing, stopping
- Russia infrastructure will deteriorate and oil output will decline over next few years
- Only some OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia will continue to spending on their oil infrastructure ... though at a lower rate than in the past
- Investments in the renewables build-out way down as no money is flowing
Take away: when the economy recovers, there' s going to be even less global oil available than there was when it hit $147 a barrel this summer. And the only country that's keeping its gear in good shape, Saudi, will comprise a larger % share of US oil imports than it ever has. For DOD, this is a very good time to avoid short term thinking if it can.