T. Boone Pickens may not know exactly what's up with V-Vehicles, a company that he's invested in that wants to make high-mileage vehicles, but he does claim to know some things. During his opening keynote speech at the AFVI Expo in Las Vegas, for example, the long-time oilman and big natural gas promoter said that he thinks God put tremendous amounts of the fossil fuel under the United States for us to use. Specifically, he said:
Read on after the jump to find out more about the plan Pickens has for all that gas, and more.We got lucky. We showed up with a resource that is even better than the oil, which is natural gas. Where did it come from? It came from our technology in this country in developing the shale. ... I'm convinced, as I get closer and closer to going – I'm 82 and what I mean by going is serious going – that I want to be sure and give all credit where I think it should go. I'm not kidding you, I think it's divine intervention is what happened to the United States. We now have more [natural gas] reserves than any other country in the world.
As he's done for years now, Pickens used his AFVI Expo appearance to preach to the choir about natural gas. Since AFVI is a fleet-friendly show and fleets are where natural gas most commonly used for transportation in the U.S., this makes sense. Pickens is also sick of waiting, saying that he's heard Presidents all the way back to Nixon say the U.S. would be off of oil, promising energy independence:
One reality from Pickens' 2008 AFVI speech – that the world can only produce about 85 million barrels a day, and "that's about all you can do" – is still with us. To deal with this reality, the U.S. needs to have a coherent national energy plan (he, of course, wants it to look like the Pickens Plan). Pickens didn't call for a state-owned oil company in the U.S., but he did point out that 70 percent of all the oil in the world is controlled by state-owned oil companies. "We have no game, no team," he said. "If you think it's a free market, you're kidding yourself. OPEC is not a free market." Why do we need a plan? Because Pickens predicts that, in ten years, the U.S. will be importing 75 percent of our oil and we will be paying $300-400 a barrel for it.I keep repeating what Obama said. Obama said in ten years we will not import any oil from the Mideast. Now, we're two years into his first administration and he has not mentioned that again and no one in the press has asked him, "How are we doing with getting off of oil?" I think that question will be asked at some point.
A big problem with getting his oil alternative of choice in place, Pickens said, is that, "People don't really get natural gas. If we found 700 million barrels of oil under the U.S., there'd be a lot of people who get that." But with natural gas, how to use it for transportation is kind of lost on legislators and other stakeholders. This might change with H.R. 1835: New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009 (aka NAT GAS and S.B. 1408), which begins moving America's vehicles off of oil by getting big semi-trucks to burn CNG. Pickens prefers OEM CNG installations to conversions, but he's in favor of anything that is done by Americans and uses American resources. "We're going to replace dirty foreign with clean, cheap natural gas. It will start with heavy duty and we'll see how far it goes," he said. He's impatient to get things moving, but said, "It is really slow in Washington to make progress. It is really, really slow."
Pickens' love of all energy sources American extends to off-shore oil drilling, even when there's a tragedy. He said he does not want to capitalize on someone else's loss, but an accident like what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico should not stop drilling or natural gas extraction. He said there have been only two oil spills of any real note in the U.S. – the Santa Barbara spill in 1969 and the current one in the Gulf (the Exxon Valdez was a drunk that ran into a rock, he said to laughter) – and two accidents that happened 40 years apart is "not a bad record," he said.
God was unavailable for comment on these issues.