Presidents Barack Obama’s State Of The Union Address on January 28th 2014 was an overall positive speech and encouraging to those who have invested in American Natural Gas. So encouraging in fact, that T. Boone Pickens has challenged Obama to follow through with his words.
T. Boone Pickens is an American oil billionaire and corporate raider. At age 85, Pickens is currently a board member of natural gas refueling station giant Clean Energy Fuels, and one of the most public and vocal supports of American natural gas. He even went so far as to lay out his vision for a cleaner, greener America powered by natural gas.
With the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, once unobtainable pockets of natural gas can now be reached, leading to a boom in natural gas supplies. This boom has helped directly and indirectly employ millions of people, but not everyone is a fan. The clandestine nature of fracking fluids, coupled with side effects like water that catches on fire and earthquakes where there were none before, has made many people wary of fracking, and natural gas in general.
Still, there’s a lot of money to be made for sure, especially with federal government backing, and the fracking industry maintains that this method of gas extraction is both safe and effective for everyone involved. For Pickens the opportunity to make some cash is what really matters and must have been absolutely elated for President Obama to mention natural gas in his SOTU speech yet again. In a public response to Present Obama’s State Of The Union, Pickens challenged the President and Congress to follow through and encourage the use of natural gas in vehicles like commercial vehicles as an alternative to get America off of oil.
There is a lot at stake for Pickens, who has invested heavily into natural gas with grand ambitions that have yet to pan out. Currently approximately only 1,700 class 8 trucks run on natural gas out of around 3.2 million class 8 trucks on America’s highways. While Detroit’s major automakers are now offering CNG versions of some light and heavy-duty trucks and vans, the Honda Civic Natural Gas remains the lone entry in the CNG car field.
For Picken’s plans to pan out, a massive push by the President and Congress needs to happen, as the natural shift to CNG is taking too long for an 85-year old man. Pickens’ Clean Energy Fuels isn’t seeing much refueling business, causing stock prices to plummet despite a recent jump in natural gas prices. Presidents Obama and an act of Congress might just be the good PR to turn a rocky investment into a highly profitable one.
Source: The Motley Fool
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.