I think the son of a gun's up something like 63% this year. Not bad for an old timer.
Boone Pickens Sees Oil Prices Going Higher.
Oil tycoon Boone Pickens' bet that energy prices would rise made him more money in the past five years than he earned in the preceding half century hunting for riches in petroleum deposits and companies.
And even as crude futures have doubled since 2000 to almost $60 a barrel, the 77-year-old Texan sees no reason to take his chips off the table. "I can't tell for sure where we're going, other than up," Pickens said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Pickens does not believe the current tightness in the oil market will be resolved by a surge in supply, and he sees $50 a barrel as a price floor. When he does the arithmetic — the world will consume more than 30 billion barrels of oil in 2005 — Pickens is convinced that OPEC and the rest of the petroleum industry will never again be able to build a sufficient supply surplus to give the market a psychological cushion. Even if the world can produce more — Saudi Arabia claims to have reserves of 250 billion barrels — limited refining capacity will continue to be a problem, he said.
At the moment, the world's excess production capacity is about 1.5 million barrels per day, or less than 2 percent of total global consumption. That has traders extremely nervous about the possibility of hurricanes, terrorist attacks and labor strife in key oil production regions.
Only one thing could undermine his position as a market bull: a sharp drop in energy use, either from an economic recession or because skyrocketing prices get people to think twice about taking a long drive. Pickens believes the United States and other industrialized nations are in for a rude awakening within the next year as oil producers struggle to keep up with growing demand in the United States, China and India.
"You're going to hit a brick wall is what's going to happen," said Pickens, who foresees oil prices above $60 a barrel oil and gasoline at $3 a gallon.
Longer term, he expects very high prices to change consumers' habits. Already, he said, "you're coming to the end of the SUVs as far as being center stage."