Pickens Plan: Good for T. Boone or U.S.?

Last Updated Aug 29, 2008 11:30 PM EDT

  • Clean Energy Fuels LogoThe Company: Clean Energy Fuels, the largest provider of compressed and liquefied natural gas for alternative-fuel vehicles in North America.
  • The Filing: DEF 14-A filed with the SEC on April 15, 2008.
  • The Finding: It's an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security -- oil. In a four-minute video and legends of commercials on television, Boone Pickens, the legendary oil tycoon, says the U.S. can reduce dependence on foreign crude by harnessing domestic energy alternatives, such as wind and natural gas.
The Upshot: The Pickens Plan alleges that by building new wind generation facilities and tapping huge stores of domestic natural gas, the country can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years.

"Independence" rhetoric aside, what troubles me in the energy debate is Picken's lack of transparency. In addition to sinking millions of his own money on a 4,000-megawatt wind farm in Texas, he owns about 61 percent of the common stock of Clean Energy Fuels, the largest provider of natural gas in North America for transportation (which I positively commented about in this blog back on June 23).

The Question: Is the Pickens Plan motivated by self-interest or a sincere effort to both make money and do well by the country. What do you think?

  • David Phillips

    David Phillips has more than 25 years' experience on Wall Street, first as a financial consultant and then as an equity analyst for several investment banking firms. He sifts through SEC filings for his blog The 10Q Detective, looking for financial statement soft spots, such as depreciation policies, warranty reserves and restructuring charges. He has been widely quoted in outlets such as BusinessWeek, The International Herald Tribune, Investor's Business Daily, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, and The Wall Street Journal.