Pickens: $100 oil by Q4 2010

Famed oilman T. Boone Pickens told a crowd at Rice University on Tuesday the current lull in oil prices is the perfect time to make aggressive moves away from the fuel and that $100 per barrel will return once world economies rebound.
When will that be? By the end of 2010, Pickens predicts.

t_boone_pickens_txhou102 T. Boone Pickens speaks to Rice University students on Tuesday. (Houston Chronicle, Mayra Beltran)

Pickens pontificating on oil prices is nothing new — the media ask him about the subject all the time. But he was in town this week to promote his plan to cut the country’s foreign oil use by one-third by using wind power and natural gas as a bridge to get us to the next generation of transportation fuels.
Here’s KTRK’s piece on the talk and Reuter’s piece on the gathering. Here’s 24/7 Wall Street’s take on his prediction.
A few other items from his talk:

• Pickens doesn’t deny his financial interests in wind power and natural gas, but he says he’s currently “on the sidelines” when it comes to energy investing. His hedge fund lost big last year, he has said. “We’re only about 10 percent in right now,” he said.

• He detailed one part of his plan that transitions some of the most polluting vehicles on the roads — diesel buses and trash trucks — to natural gas. He proposes the federal government offer $30 billion in incentives to help the owners and operators of large fleets of the vehicles buy 350,000 natural gas fueled vehicles (about $86,000 per vehicle). It wouldn’t require getting rid of the existing vehicles, just helping companies and governments make the transition to the cleaner-burning vehicles. He claims that effort, which would be relatively small, could cut the country’s annual oil use by a little more than 5 percent.

• More than 1.35 million people have signed on in support of his plan at his Web site.
“I’m a hell of a lot more powerful with 1 million people behind me that when I was just a rich guy from Texas going to Washington,” Pickens said.

Here’s a profile we did of Pickens two years ago after he made a particularly large donation to M.D. Anderson.