T. Boone Pickens Says Peak Oil Reached, Plans World’s Largest Wind Farm
That statement right there makes me doubt the intentions of Mr. Pickens. This article in The National Post explains why:
Take oil, the scarcest of the major energy commodities. In the Americas, proven oil reserves have increased from 170 billion barrels to 180 billion barrels over the last two decades, according to the 2008 Statistical World Review from British Petroleum. In Europe and Eurasia, proven oil reserves almost doubled, from 76 billion barrels to 144. Africa's proven oil reserves did double, from 58 billion barrels to 117. Even the Asia Pacific region, where China and India are reputed to be sucking up everything in sight, has increased its proven reserves. And the Middle East, the gas tank of the world, shows no sign of slowing down -- its reserves soared by almost 200 billion barrels, from a whopping 567 billion barrels to a super-whopping 756.
Bottom line for the world: an incredible 36% increase in oil reserves during the two decades that saw the greatest globalization-spurred oil consumption in the history of mankind. And that doesn't include the 152 billion barrels in proven oil reserves obtainable from Canada's tar sands. Is there any reason to doubt that the next two decades won't build on the steady growth of the last two?
These oil reserves aren't the end of it. These figures -- for the year ending December 2006 -- represent oil that's not only known to be available, but also economic at 2006 prices using 2006 technology. Since prices have soared in the last year, and technology has improved too, BP's annual assessment for the 2007 year will show greater proven oil reserves still.
But this is still not the end of it. Unconventional oil reserves are now in play. In 2005, the Rand Corporation estimated that the oil shale in America's Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, contains 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, with as much as 1.1 trillion barrels of oil recoverable, an amount comparable to the reserves of four Saudi Arabias. Oil shale becomes recoverable at $95 a barrel, it determined. With oil now trading at $140 a barrel, oil shale
exploitation is now very much economic. Then there's Canada's tar sands, with its even greater potential--estimates of the total reserves that may be available top two trillion barrels, or eight Saudi Arabias.
This is still not the end to it. Most of the oil we know about lies in the well travelled portions of the globe. But most of the world remains unexplored -- the interiors of Africa, Asia and South America have seen relatively little oil exploration. Oil exploration in the oceans, too, is in its infancy. For all practical purposes, mankind has limitless oil supplies available to it. The story is similar for natural gas and coal, the other major nonrenewable sources of energy. And for nuclear power. And for the renewables.
This further statement from Mr. Pickens is illuminating:
For a number of years I’ve watched the wind turbines develop — and I feel like it’s time for it. I think that oil has peaked at 85 million barrels in the world. We’ve got to develop other forms of energy — wind, I think solar will be next, and I hope I’m still around to be in the solar deal.” (Pickens is 80 years old.
But what if Congress doesn’t vote to extend the wind Production Tax Credit?
“Well, I think they’ll vote on it. They’ll either do that or they’ll give some kind of carbon credit because, the wind has to be developed in the United States. We’re now importing 72 percent of the oil we use every day. I think everybody can see that we’re gonna break the country if we pay 700 billion dollars a year for, uh, imported oil……I’ve got a good team of people that are knowledgeable in wind energy, and I don’t worry about it. I think it’s a good project, and it’ll do well and we’ll make money. And it’ll help the country.”
So, if I've got this right, T. Boone plans to save America at only a 15% to 25% profit to himself (and, one supposes, his fellow investors) by means of both straight-forward direct costs to the customer and indirect costs to everybody in the country via tax incentive of some type.
Nice work if you can get it.
I think this briefly outlines Mr. Pickens strategy while making a bit clearer how he hides that behind his "plan to save America". Plans are what you formulate to examine how best to advance your position. Strategy is the process of achieving that advancement despite the opposition of others.
T. Boone is a canny businessman who outlines a perceived opportunity while doing his best to make the cost palatable to the ultimate payor of same.
Does his casting that as salvation seem a bit much to you too?
National Post article via Al Fin.