Russian President Vladimir Putin's hold the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine could pose a serious energy risk to Europe, oilman T. Boone Pickens told CNBC on Tuesday.
"Putin is, as far as I'm concerned, he's just a young Joe Stalin, a little smoother. He runs circles around us," Pickens said in a "Squawk Box" interview.
(Read more: Yanukovich: Army will ignore 'criminal orders')
In a warning last week reminiscent of 2009, Gazprom—Russia's state-run natural gas company—said it could stop shipping gas to Ukraine over unpaid bills, like it did five years ago. At that time, it led to reductions in supplies of Russian gas to Europe during a cold winter.
In a commentary this week, Pickens described the potential risk:
"Russia is the world's second-largest supplier of oil and has tremendous power over the market. While America's oil and natural gas industry has achieved stunning increases in domestic production, this has done nothing to alleviate our vulnerability to foreign oil. ... This dangerous dependence makes us just as vulnerable to state-sponsored energy-terrorism as Ukraine, which is why we can't liberate Europe from its dependence until we've freed ourselves first."
The U.S. is exploring ways to provide energy assistance to Ukraine and Europe should Russia cut-off supplies, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week.
Pickens agreed that U.S. natural gas should be shipped overseas, but said it won't be possible for perhaps two more years. "The first big LNG [liquefied natural gas] loads will go out of Lake Charles [Louisiana] I think they say in late 2015. I'd say 2016."