As one of the best known and longest serving oil and gas industry executives in the country, Boone Pickens has pretty much seen it all in his 60 year career, except for one thing; a national energy policy.
"The U.S. is the only country in the world that doesn't have an energy plan," the 83 year old says in the attached video, despite the fact that we use over 20% of the world's oil.
Of course, public ire over high gasoline prices has galvanized political attention, and Pickens is once again embarking on a public crusade to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil, this time by supporting the NAT GAS Act, a bill that is designed to incentivize the use of natural gas in the nation's truck fleet and that is gaining bipartisan support in Washington.
As much as the country is aware of the problem and wants to fix it, we never seem to do it; and President after President has tried to no avail. But Pickens is relentless and rattles off statistic after statistic to bolster the chance of passage. He points out that 70% of the oil used every day in the U.S. goes to transportation fuel, while 2/3 of our trade deficit is spent purchasing foreign oil.
"We've bought over $1 trillion dollars of OPEC oil in the last 10 years," he says, "At $100 a barrel, it's going to cost $2.2 trillion for the next 10 years so we're absolute fools if we don't get on our own resources."
As much as our domestic supply of natural gas is "abundant, cheaper and cleaner" than oil, its price is wallowing at a 10 year low and Pickens doesn't expect that to change anytime soon. And while the increased use of a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has raised environmental concerns, Pickens believes the technology is safe, proven, and will be able to overcome current concerns.
"I saw my first frack job in 1953 at Border, Texas. I've fracked over 3000 wells personally and have never had a problem with a frack job," Pickens says, while referencing 800,000 wells that have already been drilled in the Ogallala acqufier - the nation's largest - without incident.
Interestingly, as much as high gasoline prices support his effort, he's quick to point out that they're "not Obama's fault," but rather the result of limited global supply and growing global demand; particularly from China, who he predicts will match U.S. consumption in the next decade.
In the meantime, he's imploring Americans to "get yourself educated" about oil alternatives and to shed the belief that we'll always have cheap gasoline.