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Trends in Automation: T. Boone Pickens on American Oil

Last week, Founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, T. Boone Pickens, conducted an interview with NPR in which he discusses the possible future of the oil industry in the United States. After making some alarming comments that oil production in the United States is “dead in the water,” he was quick to point out that he thinks the industry is on a down cycle that will pick back up again.

However, Pickens estimates that the industry has lost around 200,000 jobs, and sees no certainty that when the industry recovers that all the jobs will return, particularly with trends in automation for the oil and gas industry that are helping to make data acquisition and controls much more efficient.  He mentions that oil production went from 1,609 rigs in 2014 down to 342 rigs today.

Pickens, despite being an environmentalist, does not see an end to oil demand in the near future. He phrased his opinion this way, stating “Listen, 94 million barrels a day is what the world produces, and 70 percent of that goes to transportation fuel,” he says. “Wind and solar are beautiful resources, and America has plenty of both. But neither one of them are transportation fuels.” He also commented “I am also a realist. And the reality is, we use one unbelievable amount of energy in the world. Ninety-four million barrels a day — you can’t cut that out. It’s impossible.”

So while the oil industry in the United States has an uphill climb, it is poised to regain losses as the market rebounds, so long as oil manufacturers look for ways to create more efficient processes and keep their operations cost-efficient enough to compete with OPEC nations.

You can read the full article and listen to the interview here.

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