Cold war brewing between Saudi Arabia and Texas: Barchas and Webber of ATI

A piece in the Dallas Morning News by two leaders of the Austin Technology Incubator explores the emerging conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Texas oil and gas industry.

Dallas News spot illo“The fracking boom has pushed Saudi Arabia, the world’s cheapest major producer of hydrocarbons, to a very difficult choice. Either lose market share to upstart Texans, whose shale production is on the rise, or carpet-bomb the markets with cheap oil, hitting the pocketbooks of Wall Street investors who need high oil prices to get their money back.

“Over the past few months, the Saudis have committed shock and awe on the U.S. stock market, wiping hundreds of billions of dollars in equity value from the market capitalization of U.S.-traded securities.”

The article calls for a response that develops U.S. innovation and agility: “We need to first recognize that we’re in the middle of a market war with severe economic and geopolitical stakes on the line. Second, we need to double down on what we do best: technology and innovation that will strengthen our hand. Third, we need to invest in R&D to keep driving production prices down and environmental protections up. Keep pushing efficiency measures to insulate our consumption from global volatility. Expand our pipeline and import/export capabilities so that our market is more nimble and can quickly respond to market dynamics.”

You can read the full story at

Isaac Barchas is the Director of the Austin Technology Incubator. Michael Webber is Co-Director of ATI’s Clean Energy Portfolio, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Deputy Director of the Energy Institute at UT Austin.


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November 7, 2014