A wide-ranging conversation with Joe Nocera

New York Times reporter Joe Nocera and I taped this interesting episode of the Pickens Podcast shortly after our joint appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival. This is a wide-ranging conversation with a little focus on natural gas.

For a recent Times article, Joe and I talked about how I approach risk – and how I have my whole life. In this podcast, Joe asked me about the effect of natural gas selling for about $2.80 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). When we started the Pickens Plan back in 2008, it was at $12.70 per Mcf.

If we could have gotten the NatGas Act passed back in 2013 and 2014, which provided a tax credit – not a subsidy – for truckers to move to natural gas, we would be sowing the fruits today.

One of the biggest problems we face is that there is not a single point of responsibility for energy policy. We have a Department of Energy, but we also have the Commerce Department, State Department, Interior Department, EPA, Congress, and the White House, all of which have a say in different segments of oil exploration, imports and exports, production, refining, and transmission.

I think you’ll find this conversation interesting and fun. It’s also a good summary on where we have been and where we are now on energy.

Subscribe to the Pickens Podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes, and let me know what you think via Twitter @BoonePickens.


Nov 2 2016

We Can’t Ignore the Importance of Energy. Thankfully Senator Burr Isn’t.

Nov 2, 2016

The price of gasoline and oil is low, so we don’t need to worry about energy policy, right?


Smart energy policy is more important now than ever. And two significant things happened recently that warrant greater attention.

First, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, better known as OPEC, announced its member countries agreed to slow production to bring the global price of oil up.

The OPEC oil cartel is made up of 14 member countries — including Iran, Libya, Algeria, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. But not the U.S. The Saudis alone control one-third of the world’s daily oil production. With their cartel brethren, these countries get together and set production limits to control the price of oil for everyone, including us. Many of them are hardly friendly to our national security interests.

That’s scary because we depend upon OPEC for about one-third of the oil we need every day. As I’ve been saying for years — our dependence on OPEC oil forms the intersection of the three most critical issues we currently face: the economy, the environment, and our national security.

OPEC’s recent decision affects all three of these issues.

More recently, the Paris Climate Agreement was ratified and will take effect starting November 4, 2016. Coupled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stricter greenhouse gas (GHG) rules for heavy-duty trucks, we have to make some significant cuts to our emissions.

Unlike many other countries, we have a solution: American natural gas.

We’re blessed to have a supply of natural gas that can solve all of our problems for generations to come, and break the cycle of our independence on foreign oil. We can use it in energy production to supplement increasing reliance on solar and wind energies.

More importantly, natural gas can power any kind of vehicle, and is the only alternative to diesel in heavy-duty trucking use (no, neither electric nor ethanol can do it).

Vehicles powered by natural gas generally emit 13–21 percent fewer GHG emissions on a well-to-wheels basis than their gasoline and diesel counterparts do. And if these vehicles are using renewable natural gas, we’ll see up to a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions.

That matters to many North Carolinians: Cummins Westport, a leader in bringing new, exciting engine technologies to the transportation industry, manufactures natural gas-powered engines at its plant in Rocky Mount.

They just started production of the ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine in Rocky Mount. This near zero emissions engine is a game changer. Imagine what will happen when it is used in transit vehicles, school buses and refuse trucks across North Carolina. The benefit to the local environment will be tremendous.

That success story is one of the many things that excites me about our ability to better leverage our abundance of cleaner, American natural gas. We just need to ensure we’re working to get more of these kinds of vehicles on America’s roads through smart tax policy and regulations. Good thing U.S. Senator Richard Burr has been a leader in that space for years.

This time of the year is about being “loud.” We raise the volume of certain things to bring attention to issues that some believe will resonate most strongly. Accordingly, it’s easy to miss a steady drumbeat that’s been playing in the background. In doing so, it’s easy to miss the most important thing of all.

That’s what I think has been happening on energy.

I’ve been in the energy business for more than six decades. I’ve seen it all—booms and busts. And I believe we can once and for all break the cycle of dependence while contributing to a cleaner future.

In March 2012, Senator Burr gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor in support of legislation that would leverage the power of domestic natural gas as a replacement for foreign, imported oil. He’s been a continued champion for breaking the OPEC stranglehold, maximizing the environmental benefits of natural gas, and letting this American energy source lead our energy future.

That’s what our energy policy — or lack of it — needs: leaders willing to keep their eye on the ball. Leaders willing to stand up and speak up for Americans everywhere. And leaders pushing smart policy.

We can’t afford to get lost in the “louder” conversation. And I’m grateful that Senator Burr isn’t letting that happen.

Boone Pickens is creator of the Pickens Plan, a grass-roots campaign aimed at reducing this country’s crippling addiction to OPEC oil.

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Oct 17 2016

A Service Academy for Civilians?

Oct 17, 2016

Legendary journalist Tom Brokaw and Arizona State University President Michael Crow have come up with a concept that deserves your attention. It’s certainly got mine. It’s called the Next Generation Service Corps, and it’s already up and running at Arizona State. Here are insights from Tom and Michael on this great idea.

Young people don’t feel a connection to our institutions. There’s a big disconnect with kids coming out of college. Our country must develop new forms of public service for young people who don’t attend a military academy. That’s what the Next Generation Service Corps addresses.

Can big state universities help get the idea of national service leadership off the ground? The answer is yes. Arizona State enrolled 100 students in the Next Generation Service Corps in year one and another 150 in year two. The target for the next class is 350.

Free college isn’t the answer. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and the Next Generation Service Corps recognizes that. Corps Members get full four-year scholarships, but once they graduate they spend several years in service to our country.

The biggest problem in higher education isn’t access. It’s completion. More than half the people who have started a college degree in the United States have no degree at all. They never finished. Corps Members are goal-oriented leaders with a mission in mind. It’s not a guarantee of a college degree, but it’s a big step.

Subscribe to the Pickens Podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes.

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Oct 16 2016

FedEx and Clean Energy Celebrate New CNG Station in Oklahoma City

Oct 16, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA. – October 11, 2016 – The leaders of FedEx Corp, Clean Energy Fuels Corp., (NASDAQ: CLNE) and the State of Oklahoma cut a giant ribbon today to officially open a state-of-the art compressed natural gas (CNG) station that will allow over 100 FedEx Freight Class 8 trucks to use the convenience of fast-fueling as well as money-saving time-fueling. Also at today’s ceremony, Clean Energy announced that it expects to supply the station with its Redeem™ renewable natural gas (RNG) vehicle fuel in the near future. This will expand the use of Redeem, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 70% as compared to diesel, to yet another state and demonstrates the growing popularity of the fuel to meet companies’ and municipalities’ sustainability goals.

The event at the FedEx Freight Oklahoma City Service Center was attended by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, FedEx chairman and CEO Fred Smith, Clean Energy co-founder Boone Pickens, and Clean Energy president and CEO Andrew Littlefair, as well as many other federal, state and local and industry officials.

“As one of the largest logistics companies in the world, FedEx does its homework when charting a new course and their decision to open up a major CNG fueling center was no different,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, CEO and president of Clean Energy. ““Led by Fred’s vision, the company has always had a commitment to operate on the highest sustainable level. Transitioning a portion of FedEx Freight’s fleet to a fuel that will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions is another example of their leadership.”

FedEx purchased more than 100 CNG powered tractors and contracted Clean Energy to design build and maintain the station. The FedEx Freight facility includes a four-lane, fast-fill station as well as a time-fill station which has six zones and 18 hoses. The fueling station is estimated to dispense approximately 2.5 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) per year, and uses Clean Energy’s new CleanCNG™ compressors, which produce the cleanest downstream gas, ensuring cleaner combustion at the vehicle.

To kick off the event, NGVAmerica President Matt Godlewski presented the annual NGV Achievement Award to Michael Ducker, president and CEO of FedEx Freight for his company’s leadership in alternative fuel transportation.

“It was an honor for NGVAmerica to be at such an important event to recognize Mike Ducker and FedEx Freight for their commitment to natural gas fueling,” said Matthew Godlewski, President of NGVAmerica. “As we continue to advocate for the industry to legislators in Washington and businesses around the nation, it’s important that we can point to transportation service providers like FedEx Freight, as an example of leadership when it comes to reducing GHG emissions.”

Redeem™, often referred to as biomethane, reduces the impact on the environment because it is captured from sources like landfills and dairy farms before it is released into the atmosphere, turning that methane into a safe, useable fuel. Redeem™ is already offered in California, Oregon, and Texas and used by fleets in the refuse, transit and trucking industries. Renewable natural gas is available in commercial quantities today and can meet 100 percent of the fuel requirements of an 18-wheeler while achieving as much as a 70 percent greenhouse gas reduction. Clean Energy launched Redeem™ in 2013 and has rapidly increased sales as more fleets want to realize the significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) that Redeem™ offers as compared to diesel fuel

About Clean Energy
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Nasdaq: CLNE) is the leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America. We build and operate CNG and LNG fueling stations; manufacture CNG and LNG equipment and technologies; develop RNG production facilities; and deliver more CNG, LNG and Redeem RNG fuel than any other company in the U.S. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including without limitation statements about amounts and types of natural gas fuel expected to be consumed and the benefits of natural gas relative to gasoline and diesel. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made herein speak only as of the date of this press release and, unless otherwise required by law, Clean Energy undertakes no obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. Additionally, the reports and other documents Clean Energy files with the SEC (available at contain risk factors, which may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this news release.

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