American oil isn’t what it used to be, for better or for worse. Recently, NPR’s Michel Martin sat down with famed oil businessman T. Boone Pickens, and picked his brain on the state of oil in the USA.
Saying “things aren’t good” oil-wise is a bit of an understatement. For the fifth time since 1980, oil prices have been reduced by over half. In the past, this was usually corrected by Saudi Arabia over supplying oil. Most recently, the price of oil has been in free fall— it plummeted from $100 to just over a quarter of that value. At $26 a barrel, the oil producing powers that be of Saudi Arabia and Russia have left the US on it’s own. In order to fix this, oil production has been drastically cut. In just a few years, the number of oil rigs was decreased from 1,609 to 342.
Pickens is convinced though, that oil will make a comeback. The problem though, is that he’s unsure of when that will be. But the industry doesn’t have to roll over completely and just wait it out. Pickens encourages an active exploration into clean energy sources. Wind and solar resources are abundant in America, he says, and the fact that so little of that energy output is used for transportation indicates a source of huge potential. This not only keeps the domestic economy humming, but will increasingly keep OPEC irrelevant. However, because we use so much oil— 94 million barrels— it’s hard for him to envision a world where that fossil fuel is suddenly pulled out from under us and wind and solar take the reigns.