T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire oil mogul, has put national security and energy independence at the forefront of his agenda, creating the Pickens Plan. After a lifetime as a Republican, Mr. Pickens has convinced those around him to set partisan politics aside in the best interest of our nation and has found new friends in Al Gore, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Former President Bill Clinton. This bi-partisan energy plan even has the Sierra Club backing him.
"I'm 80 years old and I want to die recognizing that I've done something for my country rather than make a lot of money for myself." T Boone Pickens. So let's set politics aside and review the energy plan in this interview with Mr. T Boone Pickens.
Gabrielle Reilly: I grew up with a solar panel on our roof as a child (Dad was way ahead of the times) and it worked like a charm in the Outback Australia. What are your ideas for solar power? Have you considered breaking the country up by regional attributes (like solar in the sunshine states for example) to optimize energy efficiency?
T Boone Pickens: We should build out the Solar Corridor in the American Southwest, the same way we should build out the Wind Corridor in the Great Plains. It will create immediate and permanent jobs and it will provide income to the owners of the land they are built on. This can all be the catalyst for revitalizing rural America.
If we build a 21st century transmission grid, where an electron is produced is immaterial to where it will be used. Electrical energy usage follows the sun - breakfast is being prepared in the East while school children in California are still in their beds. By the time homes in Orlando are turning out the lights for the family to go to sleep, parents in Seattle are starting the dishwashers to clean the dinner dishes.
Gabrielle Reilly: There is the decades-old school of thought that OPEC cannot push oil prices too high or it will entice drilling in new locations which will bring oil prices down. Obviously, there have been substantial changes in the energy supply and demand balance with China and India becoming the new energy guzzling consumers in the marketplace. OPEC and Russia no longer have to depend so heavily on the US to buy their oil. How relevant do you think that old school of thought on pricing is in today's world?
T Boone Pickens: The simple, but accurate, answer is: The world is running out of oil. The world has the capacity to produce about 85 million barrels a day. Until the global recession hit, the world was consuming about 87 million barrels a day. When oil spiked to $147 per barrel last summer (when I started promoting the Pickens Plan) anyone who could drill for new sources of oil was looking at doing it.
Gabrielle Reilly: It has puzzled me for years that this following agreement didn't receive any attention as an indicator of the oil prices we just experienced. on Sept 9th 2003 "Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to jointly control raw material prices on the international market, Russian Fuel and Energy Minister Igor Yusufov told reporters.." The Russia Journal . If Saudi Arabia is part of OPEC and Russia is the largest supplier of energy outside of OPEC wouldn't that mean OPEC and Russia have agreed to co-operate on international energy prices? Isn't that what most would consider almost a global monopoly (besides a few unstable countries that aren't part of OPEC)?
T Boone Pickens: Russia will join OPEC as a full member. They have already used their natural gas supplies as a political weapon when they shut off natural gas supplies to much of Europe over an argument with Ukraine. America cannot continue to import two-thirds of the oil we use and put ourselves at the political, natural security, economic, and environmental risk of being at the mercy of unstable and/or unfriendly regimes.
Gabrielle Reilly: On a separate topic; as a fitness competitor myself, I'm sure glad to see your interest in promoting fitness. I heard an interesting concept by a doctor who is focused on preventative medicine. If people clocked in at a gym, perhaps even in a workplace gym, they could get a reduction in health care premiums. This could potentially encourage people to exercise and therefore lower our overall healthcare costs and improve people's quality of life. What are your thoughts on that concept? Do you have any other suggestions?
T Boone Pickens: I have a long history here, and have been championing corporate health and fitness programs as far back as the 1980s. In the early 1990s, we released a detailed study of the benefits this had on our employees, and our bottom line. We were self-insured, and the benefits of this program more than paid for itself. More importantly to me, I really believed we've helped make our employees not only more productive, but have extended their lives as well. I like to say I don't want to grow old and feel bad, and I don't want my employees to, either.