T. Boone Pickens Talks About the Marcellus, Natural Gas, and America’s Energy Future

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently interviewed T. Boone Pickens, the famous Texas oil billionaire and now “energy evangelist,” out to help chart a new course for energy in America. One of the main points in his Picken’s Plan is to use natural gas as a transition fuel to replace the country’s dependence on foreign oil. Mr. Pickens is less than impressed with President Obama’s recent decision to lift a drilling ban in certain areas of the North Atlantic. The problem, according to Pickens, is there are no appreciable oil reserves in the locations where the ban has been lifted.

In the interview, Mr. Pickens had some interesting comments about drilling in the Marcellus Shale, including:

Pickens told New York listeners he was mystified by the uproar gas drilling had caused in the Marcellus Shale region, where environmentalists oppose hydraulic fracturing (fracking), an extraction technology involving high-pressure injections of sand and drilling fluids into a well. The EPA recently announced it would study fracking.

“You’ve been fracking wells in Texas and Oklahoma for 50 years,” Pickens said. “I’ve never heard anybody complain about your damaging the water. We’re just amused that people in Pennsylvania and New York are crying about messing up their water.”

On the topic of electric vehicles:

Pickens said he had nothing against electric vehicles and hybrids – he just thinks it will take too much time for them to penetrate the market of 220 million vehicles in America to have much effect on petroleum consumption.

And electric vehicles don’t enter into the equation when it comes to heavy trucks, the biggest consumers of motor fuel; there is currently no commercial battery-driven vehicle capable of powering a tractor-trailer rig.

“If you replace eight million 18-wheelers with natural gas, you have cut OPEC in half,” Pickens said.

Don’t you just love a plain talking, truth-telling Texan! Finally, one of his favorite and now oft-repeated phrases:

“Natural gas. It’s cleaner, cheaper, and it’s ours.”

*Philadelphia Inquirer (Apr 4) – Pickens: Drilling isn’t the answer