US Needs to Exploit Nat Gas Reserves: Pickens

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has sparked more talk of a move to clean energy, and billionaire energy investor Boone Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management, is among those calling for action.

Pickens, a longtime oilman and now a big investor in natural gas, said that while the oil industry’s record on spills is not bad, the US should be looking at its abundant supply of onshore natural gas.

“We’re number one in the world on natural gas,” Pickens told CNBC. “We’ve got 4,000 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves.”


Pickens, whose BP Capital Management has no relation to British oil giant BP, blamed cheap oil and gasoline for the US falling behind other countries on natural gas vehicles.

“There are 12 million vehicles that are on natural gas in the world. We have 134,000,” he said.

Pickens, making his case for natural gas on CNBC Wednesday morning, said a vehicle would get the same amount of miles out of 1 cubic foot (Mcf) of natural gas as it would on seven gallons of diesel fuel. With 1 Mcf of natural gas costing about $5 and seven gallons of diesel costing about $21, he said it’s a no brainer.

“Here, its’ infinitely cheaper, but it’s 30 percent cleaner,” he added, though he admitted natural gas prices would creep up eventually.

He called on President Obama to make good on his promise of energy independence and suggested the first step be requiring all federal vehicles purchased in the future be run on domestic fuel.

Pickens owns stock of Exco , an oil and natural gas company, and he has a large investment in Clean Energy Fuels , a natural gas company he founded in 2001.

You can hear more of Pickens' comments about natural gas and the energy industry during a CNBC special presentation, "America's Crude Reality,"Wednesday, June 30 at 8pm ET, hosted by Melissa Francis.