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T. Boone Pickens

T. Boone Pickens started Mesa Petroleum with $2500 in 1956, growing it into one of the world's leading independent oil and gas producers. He is the founder and chairman emeritus of Clean Energy Fuels, the nation's largest supplier of natural gas to the transportation sector.

Boone Pickens Warns of Petroleum Production Peak

EV World exclusive: legendary oil magnate calls it as he sees it: peak oil is here.

By EV World

PALM SPRINGS, CA. - May 3, 2005. Legendary Oklahoma energy magnate, T. Boone Pickens will be 77 years old this month, and maybe because of that, he feels free to speak what's on his mind; and he did to an audience of alternative fuel advocates in Palm Springs today.

Addressing the 11th National Clean Cities conference, hosted by the former mayor of Palm Springs and introduced by former U.S. Energy Secretary John Herrington (1984-1989), Boone, as his friends refer to him, was candid in his views of wind energy, nuclear power, natural gas, and in particular petroleum.

While he acknowledges wind power is cheap today, he, as well as former-Secretary Herrington, questioned the contribution it can make to the nation's future energy needs. He finds nuclear power attractive and believes natural gas should be used to power our transportation fleets rather than to generate electricity. In general, he was very upbeat about the prospects for alternative transportation fuels.

But on the future of petroleum, he was less sanguine.

"Let me tell you some facts the way I see it," he began. "Global oil (production) is 84 million barrels (a day). I don't believe you can get it any more than 84 million barrels. I don't care what (Saudi Crown Prince) Abdullah, (Russian Premier Vladimir) Putin or anybody else says about oil reserves or production. I think they are on decline in the biggest oil fields in the world today and I know what's it like once you turn the corner and start declining, it's a tread mill that you just can't keep up with.

"So, when you start adding the reserves in these countries, you're not even replacing what you're taking out.

"Let me take you to another situation quickly. 84 million barrels a day times 365 days is 30 billion barrels of oil a year that we're depleting. All of the world's (oil) industry doesn't even come close to replacing 30 billion barrels of oil. We don't spend enough money to even give ourselves a chance to replace 30 billion barrels. It may be because the prospects are not there. I rather imagine that's what the answer is to that.

"So, if you accept that 84 million barrels a day is all the world can (produce), and then look at refining capacity, I think it's just a coincidence that refining capacity... world capacity... is 84 million barrels a day. So, we're in balance: 84, 84.

"Now you see the projections for the fourth quarter of '05, I mean like tomorrow; it is 86 to 87 million barrels of oil a day required. China (and) India (are) growing fast. Our economy is going down a little bit, but it doesn't seem to be shutting off demand for gasoline, oil, natural gas, whatever. But around the world... just assume that the (U.S.) economy is slowing, but China is still ramped up; it is still 86, 87 million for the fourth quarter.

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