Texas oil billionaire eyes Alberta wind power

CALGARY, ALBERTA - Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens told a Calgary business audience he's looking to make a potential investment in wind energy in Alberta.

"If it's a better deal in Alberta than it is in Texas, I'd be more interested in Alberta than I would Texas," he said at a sold-out luncheon at the Westin Hotel. "I want to make the best deal I can wherever I invest my money.


The Pickens Plan, introduced last year, calls for the United States to cut its dependence on foreign oil by more than one-third by making natural gas and wind power much bigger parts of America's energy supply.

The United States receives more crude oil from Canada than from any other country.

Pickens, who made his fortune in oilpatch investments, is behind a plan to build the world's largest wind farm in Texas.

His proposal calls for the private sector to build thousands of wind turbines, which would supply one-fifth of electricity in the U.S. The wind power would free up supplies of natural gas, traditionally used in power generation, to be used as a transportation fuel instead of diesel and gasoline.

He said Canadians need not worry about the plan to wean the United States off of foreign oil.

"It's going to be good for America. It's going to be good for Canada," the 81-year-old oilman said in front of 770 members of Calgary's business community. "It's going to be good for the producers. It's going to be good for everybody."

Pickens said the only loser in the deal is foreign oil. "And I don't call you foreign," he added, eliciting peals of laughter.

"It's just natural, to me, that the United States and Canada work together and we're, of course, a good customer to the Canadians, and it's easier to sell it to us than anyone else, so it would naturally come here," Pickens told reporters.

"From our standpoint, we would prefer Canadian oil because it's more stable than any place in the world. That's just a natural relationship that I think just grows, and no reason for it to decrease."

Pickens laid out a rosy outlook for natural gas prices, which traded above $4 US per 1,000 cubic feet but have languished well below that mark for months.

"I think next year $7 US will be the average price for the year for natural gas. I'm optimistic about the price."


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