Talking to Mass Transit magazine about his plan for America’s energy, BP Capital founder and chairman T. Boone Pickens says OPEC is the enemy and Americans are just paying for both sides of the war with our dependence on foreign oil.
“I want to get off of OPEC oil,” was Pickens’ primary message.
“Seventy percent of all the oil we import goes to transportation. That’s 5 million barrels a day.”
The Natural Gas Alternative
In 1996 Clean Energy was founded by Pickens and Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy’s president and CEO. Clean Energy is a provider of natural gas in North America and designs, builds, operates and maintains natural gas fueling stations providing CNG and LNG fuel. It fuels more than 20,000 vehicles every day, including more than 6,000 transit vehicles at more than 30 locations.
A combustible mixture of hydrocarbon gases, natural gas is clean burning and emits lower levels of byproducts than other fossil fuels and the United States is No. 1 in natural gas reserves. Ninety-eight percent of the natural gas is produced in North America and estimates are that there is more than a 100-year supply.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique that extracts the gas from shale and has caused some controversy over natural gas. It involves sending vast amounts of water, chemicals and sand into the ground to release natural gas from shale formations thousands of feet underground.
Opponents of fracking say the process could be contaminating drinking water.
Some environmentalists support fracking and the extraction of natural gas because the gas emits a fraction of the carbon of oil or coal.
The industry says no conclusive evidence has been produced that shows chemicals have migrated from a well bore thousands of feet underground and into aquifers closer to the surface.
Pickens agrees, saying, “We’ve been fracking in Texas in the largest aquifer in North America. It goes from Midland, Texas, to the South Dakota border and that goes across eight states.
“That whole area is a big part of it, where oil and gas has been produced for years and the fracking has never been an issue.”
Change From the Top
The Pickens Plan is an extensive approach to America’s energy needs with an integral part of that being to utilize America’s natural gas to replace the imported oil as a transportation fuel. And the legislation proposed would expand the use of natural gas among heavy-duty vehicles with tax breaks for natural gas-powered vehicles and fueling stations.
The legislation is scheduled for a Senate hearing and Pickens is determined on moving it along and eventually getting it passed. He adds that there are more than 1,700,000 people signed on.
Commenting on people supporting clean alternatives and domestic fuel, Jay Rosser, VP Public Affairs for T. Boone Pickens and BP Capital says, “You know, it’s more than that. It’s companies like AT&T stepping to the plate to convert their fleets over to natural gas.” Operating nearly 76,000 vehicles nationwide, AT&T had committed to purchasing natural gas vehicles over a few years to replace gasoline and diesel vehicles to run a cleaner, more efficient fleet.
“If I get 8 million 18-wheelers on natural gas, that will cut OPEC in half. That’s 2 ½ million barrels a day,” Pickens stresses about capturing the high-volume vehicles.
He has been asked why the taxpayers should pay and Pickens says, “You’ve got to get it started, you have to help a little bit to get it started.” And Rosser points out the extension of the argument are some say the free market should dictate it. To Pickens he asks, “Your answer is?”
“Well do you think OPEC’s a free market? Of course not. Energy today is not necessarily a free market,” Pickens states.
He emphasizes, “But we can go in there and undercut the hell out of it with natural gas.
“Anything American is what I’m for. And it makes my argument pretty simple; I’m not trying to sell natural gas, I’m trying to sell America.