Path Home Shows 2012 Show Archive January 2012 Show 1204 T. Boone's Take on CNG

T. Boone's Take on CNG

Value Added: Dependence on foreign oil has long been an American weakness. We visit with T. Boone Pickens about what may be the best solution in a generation that could change what and how we drive.
T. Boone's Take on CNG

T. Boone Pickens

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Pickens Plan

Show Dates

Show 1204: Value Added - Interview with T. Boone Pickens - CNG

Air date: January 22, 2012



Rob: Now, I was able to sit down with compressed natural gas’s most ardent supporter, T. Boone Pickens. Well, Mr. Pickens, the National Petroleum Council estimates that we have 50 times the recoverable gas that we thought we did just a few years ago. How much of a game changer has shale gas become?

T Boone Pickens: Well, National Petroleum Council, I bet they triple that in five years. You’ve got a lot more gas than has been booked. And the technology for recovery is advancing so fast, the industry is advancing it so fast that you are going to get, I think, 4,000 trillion are going to be recoverable from the United States. Now what does 4,000 trillion mean? That’s equivalent to 700 billion barrels of oil. And the Saudis have 250 billion barrels of oil in their line. They don’t have that much. They have less than 200. So you have three times the amount of oil equivalents as Saudi Arabia has.

Rob: Yeah, and you talked about technology. Put on your geologist hat just for a second and explain to us the importance of horizontal drilling and the high pressure fracking that’s going on.

Pickens: Well, I mean, you’ve been, you frack now over a million wells. But it’s taking you 50 years to do it. And those, most of those are in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico. But in that area is where most of the wells have been fracked. So the people over in eastern Pennsylvania are, they have become great authorities on how damaging all this is (laughs) when we’ve had a million wells and no problems. And we have fracked below the largest aquifer in North America, which is the Ogallala, extends from Midland, Texas, to South Dakota. So any well that’s drilled in that area, in that eight-state area, has drilled through the Ogallala, cemented it, fracked a well, and no problem. So people in Pennsylvania, they’ll, after a little experience, they’ll find out that it’s not dangerous. The high pressure, that’s, we don’t think of it as high pressure because you know you’re fracking and you’re fracking at high volumes where you get up to you know 50 barrels a minute, you’re pumping into there. And that does take pressure to do it, but you have casing that’s tested for all of that. You very seldom ever have a problem.

Rob: Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk a little bit about economics. What will the economic impact be if the Pickens Plan is fully implemented here in the United States?

Pickens: Well, we’ll create 400,000 jobs at $10,000 a job. And I think uh, Harry Reid, the majority leader told me two years ago, he said you’re creating jobs, more jobs, cheaper than anything that’s crossed my desk.

Rob: Could natural gas take coal’s place as the second favorite fuel of the world?

Pickens: Sure. Your power generation in the United States, 52 percent of your power comes from coal, 22 percent comes from natural gas, 20 from nuclear, and a little bit from wind and solar, hydro. But sure, you’ve got natural gas that, on power, new power plants being built in the United States today, most of them are going on natural gas.

Rob: If there is the rise of natural gas that everyone is really working towards, is the environment, is it the big winner?

Pickens: Natural gas is 30 percent cleaner than diesel. And then if you look at, the largest place for mass transit is Beijing and they have 5,600 buses there on natural gas. So the fuel has been tested. We know it is cleaner. Southern California, most of the trash trucks are on natural gas. When you take one diesel trash truck off the street in southern California, it’s equivalent to 325 cars.

Rob: If it’s so readily available, what keeps us from just plugging in, in our garage and filling up?

Pickens: Well, you have to have the vehicle.

Rob: The vehicle and then the apparatus, which is kind of expensive right now. So where are we in that infrastructure today?

Pickens: Well, I have the car, Honda GX Civic, and I fuel it in my garage, and my fuel costs me less than a dollar a gallon. But my car was $3,000 more expensive, and the fueling device was $4,000.

Rob: But don’t you think just the scale, if we just gear this up, that’ll just go away?

Pickens: Yeah, exactly, with scale it’ll go away, right.

Rob: What is the importance of training in facilities like where we are here in Tulsa Technology Center?

Pickens: Well, Tulsa Tech is, they’re advanced compared to the rest of the country. But why are they advanced? Well, one leadership; and two, they’re in natural gas country. So they’ve been around it. They, nothing, uh, you know, frightens them. They look at it as an opportunity to expand their operation and prepare people to go into these jobs. Let me tell you in the next five years, you’re going to find it unbelievable what happens in the world, not just in the United States, as opportunity for young people to go into this business. Because natural gas, it will displace at some point the overpowering position that oil has had. OPEC will be brought down. They will have to release a stranglehold they’ve had on the world. That’s getting ready to come to an end. But I’m not so sure all of our leadership sees that, but what an opportunity for us to capitalize on that because we have more natural gas than any other country in the world.

Rob: Thank you, sir.