Pickens: Natural gas 'key' to future transportation

Speaking before a major dealmaking conference in Las Vegas, the energy investor also predicted higher oil prices by the end of the year.

T. Boone Pickens, founder of energy investment firm BP Capital Management, today predicted a future US transportation market powered by domestically sourced natural gas.

“Natural gas will be the key to transportation energy,” said Pickens, speaking at the 2009 ACG InterGrowth conference in Las Vegas. The event is sponsored by mergers and acquisitions trade group the Association for Corporate Growth.

Pickens, a veteran oil entrepreneur and now a major proponent of alternative energy, noted that the US has a large supply of natural gas and that the Obama administration will aggressively seek to create incentives against the importation of foreign oil.

He admitted that the recent drop in the price of oil had made many alternative energy strategies temporarily unviable. Pickens, who is building a major wind farm in Texas, said natural gas prices are currently too low to make the economics of that project work. But he predicted a sharp rise in the price of both natural gas and oil.

Asked by moderator Liz Claman, a Fox News anchor, whether the world would return to “sustained, painfully high” oil prices, Pickens responded, “Get ready, because you’re going to have it.”

He predicted that oil will rise to $75 per barrel by the end of the year.

More than 1,800 delegates have gathered at ACG InterGrowth, a networking event primarily for US middle-market dealmakers.

Attendance is down slightly from last year, which was the largest-ever InterGrowth event, said ACG spokesperson Bill Haynes.