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Pickens: US Can End Reliance on Foreign Oil in 5 Years

Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011 01:54 PM

The U.S. could wean itself off foreign oil in about five years by developing a new energy plan and relying more on homegrown resources, says billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens.

To do that, the U.S. must push through new energy policies to encourage more drilling in the United States, especially natural gas.

"You know what natural gas prices today is in the United States? Cheap — it's under four bucks. You know what it is in the middle east? $16 to $18," Pickens tells CNBC.

"We have the cheapest energy in the world in this country. Our oil is cheaper by $15 a barrel than the global price and our natural gas is cheaper by a fraction. Why isn't somebody saying we have the cheapest energy in the world?"

By developing more at home, Pickens says, the U.S. could wean itself off foreign oil in less than a decade.

"We could be on our own resources in five years," Pickens says.

Not only would tapping homegrown energy sources save the U.S. money from importing crude, especially from politically volatile OPEC member countries, it would also end expensive military operations in the Middle East that are there basically to ensure the flow of oil the west.

"You would be able to move a lot of your military back out of that area because it's in there protecting oil," Pickens says.

"If you look at the last 10 years, we have paid OPEC — the United Sates has for our oil — $1 trillion. If we go forward 10 years, at $100 a barrel, we will pay $2.5 trillion," Pickens adds.

Factor in the costs of protecting that oil and the price tag skyrockets.

"If you go back and look at all the costs for the last 10 years, it's more like $7 trillion counting the Army, Navy, Marines, and everything else" Pickens says.

Experts are growing increasingly worried about global energy supply, including those at the International Energy Agency (IEA), who warn the world is locking itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system.

"Growth, prosperity and rising population will inevitably push up energy needs over the coming decades. But we cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven says in a recent statement.

"Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies. The Fukushima nuclear accident, the turmoil in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and a sharp rebound in energy demand in 2010 which pushed CO2 emissions to a record high, highlight the urgency and the scale of the challenge."

Crude oil prices, meanwhile, have broken $100 a barrel in recent trading, especially on sentiment that improving U.S. consumer demand figures, which rose for a fifth straight month in October, indicate an reinvigorating economy.

"If people are opening their pocket books again, it's good for the economy. Maybe you'll see gasoline demand go up," says Phil Flynn, an oil analyst at PFGBest, according to the Associated Press.

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The U.S. could wean itself off foreign oil in about five years by developing a new energy plan and relying more on homegrown resources, says billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens. To do that, the U.S. must push through new energy policies to encourage more drilling in the...
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Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011 01:54 PM
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