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Archive for Sunday, July 13, 2008

Man with a plan: Pickens wants to light a fire under politicians

Energy tycoon thinks we can cut our dependence on foreign oil by immediately investing in wind, natural gas

Legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens responds to questions during an interview last week with The Associated Press. Pickens says he'll fund a multimedia advertising campaign to focus the nation's attention on what he calls the single biggest crisis facing the country today: its dependence on foreign oil.

Legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens responds to questions during an interview last week with The Associated Press. Pickens says he'll fund a multimedia advertising campaign to focus the nation's attention on what he calls the single biggest crisis facing the country today: its dependence on foreign oil.

July 13, 2008

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A major player

T. Boone Pickens may have big plans for natural gas, but he's already made a major splash in the world of college sports.

In 2005, Pickens gave $165 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University. The donation is considered the single largest gift for athletics in NCAA history.

When a guy heavily invested in natural gas and wind power says the answer to the nation's energy woes is natural gas and wind power, it's hard not to smirk at his Texas-size gumption.

But let's not be hasty.

Energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens unveiled a plan last week to wean the United States from its dependence on foreign oil. By shifting to natural gas as a transportation fuel and increasing reliance on wind power, he said, we could cut oil imports by as much as 38 percent.

"Our dependence on imported oil is killing our economy," Pickens said in a statement. "It is the single biggest problem facing America today."

He called the country's oil purchases from places such as Saudi Arabia "the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind, sending billions of our dollars overseas to buy ... a commodity that lasts 90 days until burned in our gas tanks."

Pickens, a legendary oilman, said his plan could change things within five to 10 years "if we can get Congress and the administration to act quickly."

That's a big if. Another big if is getting the auto industry to play ball by manufacturing more vehicles that run on natural gas instead of gasoline. And yet another wild card is whether the oil industry would support new energy priorities.

"These are big question marks," said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign and former head of the Sierra Club's global warming program. "There are a lot of things out of Mr. Pickens' control."

The so-called Pickens Plan would first entail a hefty investment - more than

$1 trillion - in wind farms on an unusually breezy stretch of countryside extending from Texas to North Dakota.

The wind power would replace the natural gas now used by power plants to generate electricity. The country currently gets about 22 percent of its juice from natural gas.

Natural gas is a major resource in Kansas, as the underground Hugoton gas field in southeastern Kansas is considered the largest such gas field in the Western Hemisphere.

All the natural gas freed up by Pickens' plan, in turn, would be applied to fueling millions of vehicles that now run on gasoline but would be converted - it's not clear how, or on whose dime - to run instead on compressed natural gas.

Pickens told The Associated Press last week that he wasn't guided by personal gain.

"I'm doing it for America," he said.

But the fact remains that he and his business partners are investing an estimated $12 billion to build the world's largest wind farm in Texas. That facility would play a pivotal role in meeting the nation's newfound demand for wind power.

Meanwhile, Pickens' more-than-$4 billion hedge fund, BP Capital, is invested in a variety of natural gas companies. He also sits on the board of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., North America's largest provider of vehicular natural gas.

"Mr. Pickens is a very intelligent man," said Don Martin, vice president of Enmark Energy, a Texas oil and natural gas company. "People in the oil and natural gas business are rich for a reason. They know where the money is."

But Becker, at the Safe Climate Campaign, said he did not begrudge Pickens' turning a buck with the Pickens Plan.

"If he can find a way to make money and help the planet, I don't have a problem with that," Becker said.

However, he said, natural gas may not be an easy substitute for oil. Natural gas prices have been climbing in tandem with oil prices and are up 30 percent this year.

Increased demand by the United States would push global natural gas prices higher, Becker said, thus mitigating any relief consumers might initially feel at the pump.

Moreover, the U.S. still would have to import more than a third of its oil - assuming everything went according to plan - and likely would end up importing a greater share of natural gas as well.

"We really need to kick the tires on this and see what works," Becker said.

For his part, Pickens said he'd be spending $58 million on a multimedia campaign designed to raise awareness of the country's energy troubles and his plan for fixing them.

Comments

justfornow 5 years, 9 months ago

beobachter (Anonymous) says: yh, believe it or not. most of the world doesn't give a damn about you or for your continual BS threads hijackings,Such a perfect example, let's get something done.

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justfornow 5 years, 9 months ago

Our Stupid Politicians aren't going to get anything done, so get behind this Henry Ford of today, if not then your as stupid as the stupid Politicians. Stupidity is killing America.

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ReachAround 5 years, 9 months ago

You're an idiot if you think power is his main goal. Hell, he already has more power than he knows what to do with. He's got billions of dollars laying around and you think he's doing all of this so he can pick up political clout? Are you out of your mind? You realize how old he is, don't you? He himself knows that he's not gonna be around much longer. If he has any ulterior motive, it's that he wants his partners and friends to have a promising future in the wind and solar industry. Perhaps he also wants to do good for the country so that he can make up for all the times he screwed people over during his career. By going on his little crusade to help America, he also knows that he's changing the way he'll be remembered. He is buying his own immortality, in as positive of a manner as possible.

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verity 5 years, 9 months ago

He couldn't buy Bill Self, so I guess money can't buy everything.At least he's doing something, no matter what his motives are. And that is more than can be said about the people we have elected to government, who are playing stupid power games while Rome burns, so to speak.

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beobachter 5 years, 9 months ago

yh, believe it or not. most of the world doesn't give a damn about you or for your continual BS threads hijackings,

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yellowhouse 5 years, 9 months ago

Maybe he can save the Prison while he is at it, because they have a mole and the Prosecutor is very mad!http://news.larryville.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=46931

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devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

xd40, it really isn't money that he seeks. He has that.Power is the goal. There is a political power vacuum in the world now regarding energy. The standard model of fossil fuel and nuclear, with a little hydro and geo thrown in has been deemed bad. The pope wants to appeal to our conscience. Al Gore and many others are engaged in multimedia events to raise fear and doubt about our very existence. This is a great opportunity to ride in and save the world. For Boone, this represents a path to redemption, both personally and in a national sense.He put thousands of oil workers and engineers and scientists out of business during the 80s. I'm sure he has had to confront some sad stories over the years. Generally, he isn't regarded well in Texas, Oklahoma, etc. Wall Street, yes, but not on main street.So, with his wealth and clout in the markets, he sees a way to put himself into a position of moving and shaking the energy industry toward a goal that will give him fame and adulation. Bankrolling Oklahoma State University probably hasn't lived up to his dream. Kind of a Ted Turner scenario.

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ReachAround 5 years, 9 months ago

Go ahead and drill, but it won't make much of a difference. Increasing demand in India, China, and the rest of the developing world will gobble it up; it's not as if American oil is strictly sold to Americans. People don't understand that oil is sold on the world market - at world market prices. Even if the US increases domestic oil production dramatically, it won't be enough to offset the increasing demand for it globally. It will continue to become more expensive regardless of how much drilling we do here in the states. Hell, drilling for oil here in America would benefit China more than anyone!On the other hand, we have the option of constructing a renewable system of energy, which largely comes at the cost of a one-time expense. A wind and solar initiative would add jobs, decrease the cost of existing wind/solar technology, and it would significantly reduce energy costs nationwide. It would create renewable energy for the US alone, versus searching for and creating non-renewable fossil fuels for the world market. I understand that conservatives and many moderates have a knee-jerk reaction to blame energy woes on environmentalists, but it's time for everyone to realize that clean energy has now become even more economical than just relying on fossil fuels.

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XD40 5 years, 9 months ago

Pickens is proposing a plan to make T. Boone even richer than he already is. We need to exploit all of our energy resources including coal, nuclear, shale oil, ANWR oil, offshore oil, etc. Driil here. Drill now.

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Boston_Corbett 5 years, 9 months ago

Bozo: "The original LA Times article doesn't mention the Hugoton field."Even worse.....does this mean the Lawrence Journal World doesn't know that the Hugoton field is in Southwest Kansas? How sensitive to understanding the circumstances of our neighbors.

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ReachAround 5 years, 9 months ago

You people are all morons and have no idea what you're talking about.

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devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

madmike, I saw no specifics, just alternate generalities.1) Cutting dependence on foreign oil is good, but just the motivation, not the solution.2) Increasing natural gas production and using it to power autos is not clearly energy or CO2 or cost effective. Increasing demand for natural gas will cause its price to increase. Home heating anyone?3) Wind energy is technologically problematic. In some areas it is probably a good adjunct to traditional methods (coal, nuclear, gas). The entire southeastern U.S is out, from Dallas to Miami to D.C. Wind is quite variable, even locally, because wind power is proportional to velocity cubed. A 6% change in wind speed translates into 19% power output. This is hard to manage. If we go this route, my suggestion is to buy an uninterrupted power supply for all your electronics. Power surges and brownouts will become common.4) Ole Boone has been buying up whole counties in west Texas. Aquifer, wind, gas are available in the panhandles of Texas and Okie. He stands to become the most powerful man in the U.S. if he can get the alternative energy folks to follow him. With Boone it is all about political and economic power. He's made zillions of $. Now he is looking for legacy.This is the guy who raided oil companies in the 70s, 80s, and 90s and made billions. At Phillips Pet, he forced the company to shut down most of its research, close its centers that would investigate such things as alternative energy. He extracted billions from Phillips for himself and other investors........at the expense of the future.This ploy by Pickens is not what you enviros want. They don't call him T. Boone Doggle for nothin'.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

The original LA Times article doesn't mention the Hugoton field. That was probably added because of local interest, although they were incorrect on its location.

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Boston_Corbett 5 years, 9 months ago

Just a scam for T. Boone to raise money to buy Self.

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Boston_Corbett 5 years, 9 months ago

Did anyone else notice that the LA Times placed the Hugoton gas field in the wrong part of Kansas?

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madmike 5 years, 9 months ago

At least Pickens has a real plan, not a bunch of glittering generalities with no specifics!

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spiderman 5 years, 9 months ago

the larger the fire beneath the 'corporate controlled politicians' the better !come on T. Boone light that fire !

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"You can't replace wind with natural gas. Here's why: look outside right now. There isn't enough wind to power up my computer monitor, let alone my coffee pot."If all wind-generation were located in one spot (a physical impossibility, I might point out) this would be a concern. But they won't be, so it isn't.

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Centerville 5 years, 9 months ago

You can't replace wind with natural gas. Here's why: look outside right now. There isn't enough wind to power up my computer monitor, let alone my coffee pot. You need backup that can come on line quickly...until the wind starts blowing. Natural gas has historically been used for peaking power because it can be brought on quickly but is very expensive. Pickens wants to substitute it for coal and nuclear baseline: you know, the stuff that keeps your alarm clock and the traffic signals going. It's like a cupcake: nuclear and coal are the cake, natural gas is the icing, wind in the cherry. Pickens wants natural gas to be the cake and the icing. Oh yea, and keep heating our water and buildings and, oh yea, run our vehicles.

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madmike 5 years, 9 months ago

Could it be true? I am in agreement with Bozo and Pickins! I may faint.

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Lee Eldridge 5 years, 9 months ago

The U.S. has ignored our energy problems for too long. Our dependence on foreign oil is a national security issue, and is breaking our economy. There is no ONE fix. We need to use natural gas, wind and nuclear power more than we do now. We need to drill for oil in places where we know we can find it. And we need to continue to invest in the future with hydrogen powered vehicles, and other more efficient technologies. The fact that both parties have personal agendas that are wrecking this country's economy, and weakening our position in the world, is a disgrace.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"So he wants the heating market, the transportation market, and the electric baseline generation market each to be based on natural gas."No, he would replace natural gas electric generation with wind.

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nbnozzy 5 years, 9 months ago

We know the direction the USA is going now isn't best for us, so let's try his plan.

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Centerville 5 years, 9 months ago

So he wants the heating market, the transportation market, and the electric baseline generation market each to be based on natural gas. Sounds like a great plan.

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