Tags: Pickens | Natural | Gas | Energy

Pickens: Natural Gas is Best Energy Bet for US

Friday, 17 February 2012 08:08 AM

The United States needs to produce more natural gas to ease itself from the pain of pricey crude and become more energy dependent, says billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens.

U.S. truck maker Navistar and Clean Energy Fuels are studying ways to develop trucks powered by natural gas, which would really push the country towards energy self-sufficiency.

"There are 8.5 million 18-wheelers in the United States. That’s 2.5 million barrels of oil a day. So that cuts OPEC in half if you had all the 18-wheelers," Pickens tells CNBC.

"Is there any obstacle from that happening? Not that I know of because the fuel is so cheap."

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Mounting tensions with Iran over its nuclear program coupled with seasonal factors are pushing crude prices sky high, which is sending gasoline prices skyrocketing.

That makes the need for natural gas trucks even more pressing, Pickens says, pointing to the oil crisis of the early 1970s as an example.

"OK, go back to '72 when we switched from gasoline to diesel for our heavy-duty trucks. Well, what was that all about? Price. Diesel was cheap. How long did it take to accomplish it? Five years," Pickens says.

"You’re exactly at the same crossroads today," Pickens says.

"I don't see any obstacles in front of it."

Natural gas prices have fallen to the point that U.S. producers are closing up shop, as drilling costs are too high for a commodity that sells for so cheap.

"It is safe to say that there will be fewer natural gas wells drilled in 2012," says Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group based in Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press.

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Friday, 17 February 2012 08:08 AM
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