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Pickens sees $300 oil unless U.S. cuts imports

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Timothy Gardner
Reuters
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — Oil prices will hit $300 US a barrel in 10 years if the United States fails to reduce its dependence on foreign imports, billionaire oil investor T. Boone Pickens told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday.

The U.S. imports nearly 70 per cent of its oil and Pickens said the world’s top petroleum-consuming nation would import 80 per cent in a decade if it does not aggressively tap its own natural gas and renewable resources.

He testified as the Senate planned to debate energy legislation amid calls for more drilling to help lower oil prices which hit a record $147 a barrel this month.

Pickens is pushing a plan under which domestic natural gas supplies would be used to power cars instead of electrical power plants. The federal government and private investors would build a massive wind farm system in the middle of the country from Mexico to Canada to provide electricity.

Pickens, who heads the hedge fund BP Capital, stands to benefit from such a program. He’s building a 4,000-megawatt, $10-billion wind farm in northern Texas that should start generating power in 2011.

Industry group the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has said the Pickens plan could work if the government renews the production tax credit for renewable energy, preferably for longer than a year or two.

Growth in U.S. wind power has been dramatic. Preliminary figures show the United States in July may have surpassed Germany as the world’s largest generator of wind power, AWEA said.

“We’re on track to doing that, if it hasn’t happened already,” an AWEA spokes-person said.

This article was posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 5:11 am





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