We're Fueling Terrorism by Paying OPEC: Pickens
Special to CNBC.com
U.S. dollars for OPEC oil help fund terrorists and the Taliban, T. Boone Pickens told CNBC Friday.
"I am trying to get away from the terrorists," he said. "I think the money we pay to OPEC gets in the hands of the Taliban."
The U.S. is sitting on top of a huge supply of natural gas, he said — so much that American companies are selling it to China and other countries.
"So here we are, we’re exporting our clean-burning fuel and importing dirty oil from the enemy," he said. "We’re gonna go down as the dumbest crowd in history that’s ever come to town."
Pickens, chief executive of BP Capital Management, is a longtime natural gas operator and backer of federal legislation to encourage more natural gas development. He said he is pleased the Obama administration has said it backs using domestic resources for federal fleets in the future.
"You’ve got to have direction from the White House" in order to spur natural gas development and get off OPEC oil dependence faster, rather than just leaving it to market forces, he said.
On that point, he strongly differs from the billionaire Koch brothers, who run privately-held Koch Industries. Charles Koch declined to be interviewed with Pickens on CNBC.
However, the company said in a statement it "has consistently opposed subsidies that distort markets. We maintain that the marketplace, while not perfect, is the best mechanism for allocating resources to consumers…We also consistently oppose subsidies for all other fuels whether or not we benefit from them."
To which Pickens responded: If you don't like the subsidies, don't take them.
"They import over 60,000 barrels a day of OPEC crude and pay OPEC $2 billion a year, and he may be the largest in subsidies for ethanol," Pickens said of Charles Koch.
"I'm asking for $1 billion a year" for five years for natural gas development, Pickens said.
"We have cheap natural gas and an opportunity to use it for transport fuel, and all I’ve asked for is the eight million 18-wheelers," he said. "With that I can cut OPEC in half...The subsidies for ethanol are vastly different from that, $6 billion a year. I’m asking for $1 billion a year.
"Mine is either a good idea and it’ll all happen in five years, or it was a bad idea and just forget it."