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T. Boone Pickens: ‘The Biggest Deterrent To An Energy Plan In America Is Koch Industries’

By Joe Romm  

"T. Boone Pickens: ‘The Biggest Deterrent To An Energy Plan In America Is Koch Industries’"

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Billionaire energy investor T. Boone Pickens has a bone to pick with the country’s leading pollutocrats.

Pickens said in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo’s Daily Ticker that Koch Industries, the company owned by Charles and David Koch, is the major stumbling block to a coherent U.S. energy policy:

“The biggest deterrent to an energy plan in America is Koch Industries,” the BP Capital founder tells Yahoo’s Aaron Task. “They do not want an energy plan for America because they have the cheapest natural gas price they’ve ever had, and they’re in the fertilizer business and they’re in the chemical business. So their margins are huge. And they do not want you to have an energy plan, because if you had a plan, then natural gas prices would come up.”

Watch it:

Back in October, a German state minister explained that the country could decarbonize with renewables because “We Don’t Have the … Koch Brothers.” He was referring to the Kochs’ lobbying for dirty fuels and against clean energy, and its spending on climate science disinformation, which exceeds that of ExxonMobil. As Business Insider explains:

The second-largest private company in the United States, Koch Industries has spent at least $5 million in lobbying in each of the past four years, and given at least $1,000,000 in seven of the last eight election cycles, according to data from OpenSecrets.

In 2008, the company spent nearly $18 million on lobbying for oil and gas interests alone, according to Open Secrets. They’ve already spent $2.3 million on oil and gas lobbying in 2012.

Pickens was referring to the Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity front group, which has been bashing Pickens’ beloved NAT GAS Act (HR 1380) to promote natural-gas vehicles (NGVs). Since the AFP campaign began, 14 House Republicans have withdrawn support for the legislation. Of course, we now know that NGVs are bad for the climate (see “Natural Gas Is A Bridge To Nowhere Absent A Carbon Price AND Strong Standards To Reduce Methane Leakage“). As EDF chief Fred Krupp put it, “I’m here to tell you today that every truck we switch to natural gas damages the atmosphere.”

Still, who can argue with Pickens’ central point? The men from Koch — and the groups, politicians, and  disinformation they fund — are now the Sith Lords of climate and clean energy inaction in the country.

‹ False Balance On Climate Change at PBS NewsHour

May 4 News: TransCanada Could File New Route For Keystone XL As Soon As Friday ›

20 Responses to T. Boone Pickens: ‘The Biggest Deterrent To An Energy Plan In America Is Koch Industries’

  1. John Tucker says:

    The gas/petroleum/coal turf war was unexpected. I suspect (well I know) they are manipulating public opinion in environmental sectors as well.

    Although I enjoy the mud fight as much as the next person the problem here is renewables and nuclear power have no financially backed advocacy on fossil fuel levels. The non environmental (corporate) side of nuclear advocacy is sometimes safety compliance regulation avoiding and heavily vested in fossil fuels (coal and gas) and the environmental side of renewables utilizes gas co-generation to achieve base-load on a much smaller than necessary investment and sometimes pushes questionable installation projects.

    Renewables and nuclear will likely just get used and dirty from the mudslinging and funding of fringe interests/pacs.

    Already they are somehow in fierce competition when they share more of primary objective of short and long term reductions in GGs.

    Gas will win, of course. Its momentum is inevitable. It is the cheapest and most readily available low investment energy source.

    Hydrocarbon Gas will not only win as a source but as a concept as it is the common denominator of all fossil carbon energy, as well as a precursor to just about all industrial/chemical processes including fringe hydrocarbon resource recovery/gasification.

    Of note:

    Exclusive: UK has vast shale gas reserves, geologists say

    UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet. ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/17/us-britain-shale-reserves-idUSBRE83G0LE20120417 )

    Study Shows More Polish Shale Gas Than Predicted

    The geological institute said in March that Poland was sitting on between 346 and 768 billion cubic meters of shale gas in total, much less than the 5.3 trillion cubic meters estimated earlier by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    shale gas deposits could be much more than the geological institutes’s predictions. ( http://www.oilandgaseurasia.com/news/p/0/news/14872 )

    Gas has been given too much a free pass. Its just a matter of time now.

    • John Tucker says:

      Weir Sees International Fracking Market Doubling in Three Years

      The North American market, which is made up of the U.S. and Canada, is the world’s largest for fracking with about 18 million horsepower this year, according to slides released in January by Spears & Associates Inc., a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based industry consultant.

      The major areas of international fracking growth are in China, Argentina and Australia, ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-30/weir-sees-international-fracking-market-doubling-in-three-years.html )

      • Marc says:

        By October, 2012, there will be ZERO natural gas production in the US because we will exceed our maximum storage capacity. The current wellhead market price is below $1.85/mcf and dropping. It is expected to be below $1/mcf by October. Breakeven cost is about $8-9/mcf.

        There is no demand for natural gas because we simply do not have the infrastructure to consume it, and we have no export capability to send it overseas. We are at least three years from having the first export terminal converted over from being an import terminal (Sabine Pass along the Texas-Louisiana border), and that one facility, which is the ONLY one approved as of today, will only be able to liquify and export a miniscule amount of our overabundance.

        The whole shale gas game is a Ponzi scheme – they are not trying to sell gas. They are trying to sell gas companies. Chesapeake, which is already 68% owned by China, only has two operating gas rigs in the Barnett Shale, and those are for securing leaseholds. Other companies are abandoning NatGas production in favor of the higher priced oil. The US rig count dedicated to NatGas production is dropping like a rock as those rigs move to oil production.

        It is a fool who puts his stake on natural gas. It would take decades to convert truck fleets, bus fleets and passenger vehicles to run on NatGas, and as long (or longer) to convert a significant amount of our power plants and manufacturing facilities to do the same. The conversions would be complete just in time for our supply to run out, and then we would be left with having to do another conversion to something else, the cost burden of which would fall onto consumers. It is just how industry works for their own enrichment at our expense.

        Estimates of recoverable reserves in the US were downgraded by 80% last year and another 50% just a couple of months ago. Gas companies have lied about how much gas they can recover in an attempt to lure in unsuspecting investors who are going to get stuck when the market collapses.

        The ONLY reasonable energy plan for the US and the world is one focused on renewable, sustainable energy. If industry spent as much money on developing those green sources of energy as they do on PR and lies to sell oil and natural gas, then we would already be well on our way to weaning ourselves off depleting supplies of fossil fuels and having a cleaner environment at the same time!

        • John Tucker says:

          I dont have your faith. They will find a way to move it overseas faster and consume it more here. If not directly than in synthesized liquid fuels.

          They are finding more and more all over the planet.

          • Marc says:

            John, it is not a matter of faith, but of physics and finances.

            Wall Street is running from natural gas like scalded dogs. It will takes tens of billions of dollars and at least three years each to convert the eight import terminals into liquification and export terminals. Only one terminal has received a license to start that conversion, and it does not have the funding. The others are still awaiting approval of their applications, and they don’t have the funding, either.

            By October, there will be ZERO storage capacity for natural gas in the US. It is impossible to build the infrastructure to take on more gas. The current low market price, which is only about 20% of breakeven cost, is depriving industry of operating funds. They are already ceasing new drilling activity and moving rigs to drill for oil. They have already begun shutting in some wells, and by October will have to shut in almost 100% of their wells because they simply will have no place to store the gas.

            Your fears are unfounded. Industry has no magic wand that they can wave and resolve their problems. Gas is expected to be under $1 per thousand cubic feet by October, and then the bottom will really drop. If you own gas stocks, then do what Chesapeake has done – find somebody in China to buy it and get out of Dodge ahead of the bust.

            Aubrey McClendon has managed to sell off about 68% of Chesapeake to the Chinese Investment Corporation because he sees the handwriting on the wall. There is no way McClendon would do that if he believed his industry was going to thrive.

  2. Douglas says:

    I sure do wish Nova (the PBS show) would stop taking Koch money. It seems like their climate coverage is less than it used to be.

    Joe, I hope you’ll do a post on the ongoing SE drought sometime.

  3. M Tucker says:

    “As EDF chief Fred Krupp put it, “I’m here to tell you today that every truck we switch to natural gas damages the atmosphere.”

    Well, not to worry Mr Krupp, the Koch brother have got your back! If enormous amounts of money is what it takes, the brothers Koch will keep nat gas prices low and will prevent congress from subsidizing long haul truck conversions.

  4. clays says:

    Pickens sales NG. Naturally his “plan” is expand the market for his product via NG run cars.

    Koch buys NG and oil. naturally they want to keep it cheap. Less NG for cars is more for their operations.

    So your upset Koch is resistant to a Pickens plan you don’t even want… schizo.

  5. John Tucker says:

    This first story is on huffpost but you need the second to understand what it is about:

    TransCanada’s Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Project Moves Ahead

    Gov. Sean Parnell had wanted all parties on the same page as a way to jumpstart seemingly stalled progress on a line. He said if the market had truly shifted from the Lower 48 he wanted the companies to unite behind a project that would allow for liquefied natural gas exports to the Pacific Rim. ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/transcanada-alaska-natural-gas-pipeline_n_1474439.html?ref=green )

    Hope for Natural Gas Pipeline Shifts From Juneau to Japan

    On Monday night, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. During that dinner, held by the State Department in Washington, D.C., Murkowski talked with Noda about a key concern of his: electrical power for Japan.

    In the year since the incident, the Japanese have turned against nuclear power, although the country’s 53 nuclear plants used to supply a third of Japan’s electricity. Fifty-one of the 53 plants have now been shut down, and Japan wants to replace them with relatively clean-burning natural gas. ( http://articles.ktuu.com/2012-05-01/natural-gas_31524116 )

    I love they are selling the “renewables” to the home and “environmental” crowd but first like Germany, they are lining up the natural gas.

    • John Tucker says:

      ktuu is an anchorage nbc affiliate news source. So I imagine they are speaking on a inside track. Its shocking and kind fits that it could be that much of a done deal. Considering how it was played – over the top, go with the worse than it really was the anti nukes pushed/or were part of – blame the technology – not the cost cutting or incompetence.

      “Alaska’s gas is the perfect fit to meet Japan’s energy needs,” Murkowski said. “An LNG line from the North Slope could deliver long-term, stable energy supplies to Japan at a reasonable price. Such a project would be a win-win, both in terms of energy security and environmental policy for Alaska and Japan.”

      Murkowski’s conversation with Prime Minister Noda follows a series of meetings she helped lead last week in Washington, D.C., with members of Japan’s Parliament. Murkowski,

      The White House on Tuesday confirmed that President Obama and the Prime Minister discussed strengthening energy cooperation, including expanding LNG exports to Japan.

      ( http://alaska-native-news.com/state_news/5396-murkowski%3A-alaska%E2%80%99s-natural-gas-a-good-fit-for-japan.html )

  6. Paul Magnus says:

    Time to start nationalizing companies….

  7. Sasparilla says:

    The Koch boys are also in the Oil refining business – and natural gas for vehicles would literally cut their throats there. They’ll fight it for all their worth just like they do climate change action and clean energy sources.

    True scum they are and they have control (through fear) of the federal GOP on many issues.

    • Sasparilla says:

      It’s nice to see Pickens call them out here – maybe it’ll do some good (so not just the green energy climate hawks know what a threat these guys are).

  8. Kaj Embren says:

    Interesting dialogue. I would like to stress the dialogue of how much fossil fuels are subsidized and put this into a perspective of the developing countries. Fossil fuel subsidies in developing countries, amounted to $557bn (€464) in 2008, according to the IEA. By comparison, last year, governments worldwide provided a feeble $43-46bn (€32-€35bn) for the development of all renewable energy sources (including biofuels), according to a preliminary analysis published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Traditional lobbying from the oil industry and its stakeholders should be questioned by politicians in both developed and developing countries. Read more about Dependency on fossil fuels at http://bit.ly/q3BD2i

  9. _Flin_ says:

    This is really what I think about when I think about these people. They are the Sith Lords. And they have been that at least since George W. Bush illegitimately grabbed the power in 2000. Complete with a war without reason, spying on the own population, torture, abandoning of due process and killing the whole planet for the greed of their friends.

  10. ANGRY BADGER says:

    I can’t comprehend Boone’s thought process here. He’s old, rich as hell, and still shows no indication that he understands the damage we are doing through our fossil fuel addiction. You would think that a man who, as some would have it, is sitting in God’s waiting room, would want to work to stop the carnage. The ONLY way these guys have to keep score is profit. No Andrew Carnegie social benefactors here.

  11. SteveK9 says:

    I do not understand why ‘environmentalists’ continue to support methane, when nuclear power is the real antidote to environmental damage.

  12. Redz says:

    The biggest deterrence to the Pickens Plan, was that T. Boone realized the government welfare train was coming to a stop, and he wasn’t going to get billions in free government money. Pickens is nothing more than a corporate welfare queen.

  13. Kent Otho Doering says:

    So the U.S. is sitting on gobs of natural gas in the Marcellus field and others?
    Point to be taken here is what can you do with it.

    Germany now has very strict building codes. They require:
    1. Passive solar buildig heat retention.
    2. Facade and rooftop insulation. Also being retrofitted to existing builldings with tax deduction programs.)
    3. 1 inch wide vacuum, dual pane insulation windows. (also being extensively retrofitted to existing buildings for over 12 years now.)
    3. Shallow geo-thermic heat pump systems.
    4. Rooftop solar heat systems. (In addition to solar p.v.- p.g.)
    5. Adjuvent cold season natural gas heating that is “SMART GRID Coordinated” – CHP. These units are to be either by.
    5.1. Internal combustion engines- driving generators – with exhaust heat recapture for heat – hot water or
    5.2. Fuel cell systems with heat recapture for heat – hot water.

    There are ten million heating oil units in Germany. Replacing those units – with SMART GRID coordinated CHP systems will make significant cuts. Calculate approximately 4.500 liters of heating oil per average unit,and an operating time average output of 20 kWh. Shifting to nat gas with´CHP significantly slashes the co² emissions.
    At the same time, it adds additional baseline power in the short day winter seasons when solar p.v. is not working.

    VW-Lichtblick utilities have a program for replacing existing heating units with SMARTGRID coordinated CHP. Average output per multi-family dwelling unit 20 kWh.

    Sony Honda- teamed up with Vaillant to install smaller gas driven CHP in single family dwellings. Again, SMART GRID coordinated. Avereage output 5 kWh.
    5.2 Vaillant also developed small fuel cell heating units it is also marketing.
    5.3. Other companies are using Stirling motors driving generators in the combined heat power units.

    The point. When all ten million heating oil heat units, and sole gas heat-water units are replaced by CHP systems, it will add
    20 million SMART GRID coordinated kWh to the system while slashing consumption of oil for heat alone, and gas and coal for power generation.
    All heating oil units will be converted to CHP by 2030. Now, the next phase in German energy development are retrofits to aqueous fuel systems. That is, the gas fired systems will be retrofitted to aqueous fuel systems, and utilities installing these units- have “clean tech” p.g. for base line power at peak demand peiods. Gas displaces heating oil, and aqueous fuel systems then displace the gas.
    Then, in warm months, the heat will be conducted outside with conventioal automtove radiators- and the participating utilities can draw on the power as needed.
    Inthe end, that will displace the equivalent of 880.000 barrels of oil per day…and eliminate over 80 million tons of co² going into the atmosphere.

    People here think the T.Boone Pickens plan
    for an LNG transportation network is absurd.
    The California experience shows it is a waste of taxpayer money. Truck engine swaps have to be done at very high costs. And installing a nationwide U.S. LNG system would cost something in the area of 100 trillion U.S.D. over the next twenty years.

    The U.S. has the largest natural gas deposit in the world. So, convert all power and heat systems to it, and then gradually shift to aqueous aided systems.
    Let us take another example. A 250 megawatt coal burning plant can be upgraded. Replace its old steam turbine drivengenerators with state of the art opposed magnet field enhanced generators (oversized) which boosts power output by 70%.
    Then, up front-1. add a Siemens or GE gas turbine 200 mw (with opposed magnet field generators- + 300 mWh),
    and behind the Rankine cycle 2,cycle3, add 2 ammonia kalina cycles on the heat and exhaust steam lines- again driving opposed magnet field enchanced oversied A+++ , cycle 4 Striling motors, cyce 5-tubular turbo-thermo coupling on the ignition and steam exhausts – with a 30% heat to power convesion efficiency.
    Then we can use the power generated by cycles 3,4, and 5 for water demineralisation, -and magnetic resonance assisted browns gas and hydrogen generation, and radical steam ionisation- with microwave assisted ignition in the natural gas/browns gas/hydrogen/steam igntion system.
    This is agueous fuel aided, poly penta cycle power generation.

    In transportation, turbo thermo coupling plates on the engine block, cooling system provide extra power needed in winterproofed “twin tank” systems.- for in vehicle water demineralisation, browns gas generation, and radical steam ionisation.
    The vehicles- methane, diesel or gasolene start with conventional fuel,and then shift to “browns gas”- “radical magnetic resonance ionized steam ignition”…
    (Much cheaper to retrofit than replacing the entire engine and tank with an LNG system proposed by T. Boone Pickens.)
    Heat recapture – power optimisation systems and “Blue Tech” aqueous fuel systems are emerging technologies which will change the energy scene.
    The in building CHP systems are just getting started And when they also use aqueous, we are in for some major shake ups.

    Both T.Boone Pickens and the Koch Brothers would be wise to invest in aqueous fuel technology production systems.
    The equation is simple. What is cheaper over the ong haul- coal, oil, gas, or heat recatpure systems combined with aqueous fuel systems.
    The VW experimental XL plug in hybrid diesel already gets 240 miles per gallon. With a winterproofed “aqueous aided” system… mileage will be boosted to 2400 miles per gallon.
    However, T. Boone Pickens and the Koch brothers are not going to have to worry about their personally losing out to aqueous fuel systems. As far as I know, we really can´t take any accumulated wealth with us as we pass over from life on this fragile life giving planet to the life hereafter.They are probably worrying more about that at their advanced age than how aqueous fuel systems could effect the wealth they have to begrudgingly leave behind to their heirs.

    Kent- Munich