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T. Boone Pickens
10 min1984 JUL 7
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T. Boone Pickens


The entrepreneur and financier T. Boone Pickens won renown for his daring acquisition of oil and gas companies, and his attempted takeovers of such industry giants as Philips, Gulf and Unocal. Today, this iconic Texas oil man has become an unexpected advocate for alternative energy. Born in the small town of Holdenville, Oklahoma, Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr. got his start in the oil industry as a geologist. Graduating from Oklahoma State University in the oil slump of the early '50s, Pickens was one of only four in his class of 50 who found work immediately. He spent the next four years as a well-site geologist, but he soon became restless as a mere employee and wanted to go into business for himself. With $2,500 and a $100,000 line of credit, Pickens started his own oil exploration company, which went public as Mesa Petroleum in 1964. In 1997 Pickens founded BP Capital Management (the initials stand for "Boone Pickens"), overseeing hedge funds which invest primarily in oil, natural gas, and nuclear power companies. In 2008, Pickens unveiled a major energy policy proposal. The Pickens Plan promotes a radical reduction in the United States' dependency on oil from the OPEC countries. The plan calls for expanded wind and solar energy capacity, and for the conversion of the commercial transport sector from diesel to natural gas. In this audio podcast, recorded at the 1984 Achievement Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota, T. Boone Pickens recounts his career in the oil industry, building Mesa Petroleum, and his efforts to buy out the major oil companies.