CNBC News Releases


Steffanie Marchese

When: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When: CNBC’s “Mad Money w/Jim Cramer

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with T. Boone Pickens, BP Capital Chairman & CEO, on CNBC’s "Mad Money w/Jim Cramer" (M-F, 6PM & 11PM ET).

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

T. Boone Pickens Talks Energy:


JIM CRAMER, host: It doesn't have to be a pipe dream anymore. With the huge new oil discoveries in this country and the even bigger natural gas finds, there's no reason that we can't at least try to wean the United States off its addiction to foreign oil. But at the moment we're not trying hard enough, if we're trying at all.

Which is why we need to hear from the man working hardest for our nation to become energy self-sufficient. I'm talking about oil tycoon and philanthropist Boone Pickens, the man with the plan to break OPEC's stranglehold on our nation's fuel. Pickens released a plan back in July of 2008 that was a big 10 of US energy, including wind, nukes, coal, natural gas, oil. He's agnostic as long as it's ours. But mostly he also is a big booster of natural gas, as I am. Cleaner, cheaper, domestic, abundant, bridge fuel. That's why Pickens has been pushing for Congress to pass the Nat Gas Act, which would jump-start the natural gas vehicle industry in this country by extending highly targeted tax credits to companies that switch their trucks from diesel to nat gas. These trucks are the biggest users of our imported oil. We're still waiting on this do-nothing Congress to get its act together. You know what? I think that even they would agree with that nomenclature. But in the meantime, we need solutions, and nobody understands this problem better than Pickens, which is why I'm thrilled to have him on the show.

Mr. Pickens, welcome back to MAD MONEY. Thank you so much, sir.

Mr. T. BOONE PICKENS: Thanks, Jim. Thank you.

CRAMER: Have a--have a seat.

Mr. PICKENS: But look at that, American flag.

CRAMER: American flag.

Mr. PICKENS: OK. This is all about America.

CRAMER: Yes, it is. Isn't it?

Mr. PICKENS: Yeah. The oil industry's done a fabulous job of helping us get out of the OPEC trap.

CRAMER: And why is the oil industry sometimes viewed as being such a villain?

Mr. PICKENS: I don't know. They create the jobs and pay the taxes and help the economy. I don't get it because they're unusual to America today. They're doing exactly what the president wants done.

CRAMER: Well, why can't there be a public/private partnership like we have--that I've seen in North Dakota, where business people are being called on to hire and they're bringing out natural resources. They're paying a huge amount of taxes. They're taking care of a lot of things. Where is that spirit in Washington that is so evident here in North Dakota?

Mr. PICKENS: I don't think they understand what's here. I don't think they know.

CRAMER: You mean, what's under--what's under here, what's 18,000 feet under here.

Mr. PICKENS: Exactly. I mean, look at this state. I mean, they're looking for people to work here.


Mr. PICKENS: OK. But I can tell you, if I'm sitting out there watching television right now, am I'm thinking, `I'm going to North Dakota and get a job.' Don't come unless you have a good work ethic. I'm telling you. These people know how to work up here. But they do well. They make money. They find oil and they help solve the OPEC problem.

CRAMER: All right. Well, about a month ago a reporter called me and said, `Hey, that Boone Pickens pay off your bet? Doesn't he owe you something like $200 if that natural gas act doesn't get through?'


CRAMER: I told him, I said, `I'll roll that one forever because that's how important it is.'

Mr. PICKENS: I think I do owe you 200. That's...

CRAMER: It's all right. You know what? I'll go--I'll go double or nothing again. Where are we with the legislation?

Mr. PICKENS: We had a hearing coming up on August 3rd, and it's going to be, you know, and they went on recess.


Mr. PICKENS: So now we hope that we'll be rescheduled in September. I still think that we can--we can pass House Bill 1380 this year.

CRAMER: And just to refresh people. This is now something that will cost the taxpayer a lot of money, and the payback would be rather rapid, right, for the truckers that get involved?

Mr. PICKENS: Oh, it's a tax credit. You're not--it's not a subsidy. It's a tax credit. So it's taxes that you don't have to pay to accomplish this. I don't want it but for five years, that's it. Then over with, sunset and out.

CRAMER: Well, when do people realize that nat gas is so cheap in this country, maybe we don't even need it? Or is that one of the problems with the legislation is that private industry's going to solve this problem no matter what, if the government doesn't do it?

Mr. PICKENS: I'll tell you, it's going to happen in this country. I--we're going to get on our own resources.

CRAMER: Now one of the things that is disturbing, just this afternoon the USGS, the Geological Survey, they released numbers. They say that the Marcellus, which is this fabulous formation in Pennsylvania, they're—West Virginia, all the way down to Tennessee, they say it's overstated dramatically. They cut it by 80 percent what's there. USGS, how do you argue with them?

Mr. PICKENS: I don't argue with the USGS. I'm a geologist, you know.

CRAMER: Right.

Mr. PICKENS: So I'm not talking about something I've heard or something I've read about. I know what I'm talking about. Let me tell you, I cannot recall when the USGS was right on the reserves.

CRAMER: Really? So we should just...

Mr. PICKENS: There's no history on...

CRAMER: We should discount what they have to say

Mr. PICKENS: Well, I'm saying I don't know when they were right.

CRAMER: Right.

Mr. PICKENS: OK? So they've made an estimate here, I promise you is--it's wrong.

CRAMER: Right. I got one minute left. I'm just going to give you the floor. You talk about this once in a blue moon that we could solve problems. Just say it. How do we do it?

Mr. PICKENS: We do it on our own. We, Americans do it. And that's...

CRAMER: Lay it out! Lay it out for the people.

Mr. PICKENS: It is our problem and we need to, you know, understand resources in America are abundant. All we have to do is have a plan. We have no plan. We've never had an energy plan in America. We're the only country in the world without a plan. So it's, you know, it's time to get a plan. We're using 25 percent of all the oil produced in the world every day, using 25 percent with no plan.

CRAMER: Right.

Mr. PICKENS: It's insane.

CRAMER: And yet we have the ability, natural gas fueled vehicles, we have ability nuclear power, we're building coal, cleaner coal to take care of this once in a lifetime.

Mr. PICKENS: Jim, make sure it's American. That's it.

CRAMER: And that's what we have.

Mr. PICKENS: And get off the OPEC oil.

CRAMER: Boone Pickens, thank you so much for being...

Mr. PICKENS: You bet.

CRAMER: A great spokesperson for what needs to be done. Thank you for coming on MAD MONEY.

Mr. PICKENS: Thanks for having me.

CRAMER: Stay with us.

Mr. PICKENS: Thank you.

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