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Pickens Says We're Running Out of Oil. But He's Not Running Out of Money.

T. Boone Pickens -- who, just two weeks ago, was named the nation's eighth most generous philanthropist by Slate and the Chronicle of Philanthropy -- is in Doha, Qatar, this week for the Forbes magazine CEO conference. And in an interview with the Associated Press published today, the 78-year-old founder of Mesa Petroleum and BP Capital has some bad news: We're running out of oil. Like, seriously. Maybe not close to be tapped out, but pretty near screwed.

Steve Forbes don't agree with the Dallasite, natch, nore does the U.S. government, which says, oh, we got at least 50 years before half the world's reserves are emptied. But Pickens, who didn't get rich by being wrong that often, says he's "suspicious" about how much oil there really is in the Middle East, insists Mexico and Russia and the U.S. are "declining" producers of oil and says he's pretty danged sure oil, currently selling for about $62 a barrel, will hit the $70-per-barrel average this year -- and stay there.

"I think there are less reserves around the world than are being reported... The world has been looked at," Pickens told Steve Forbes during the conference. "There's still oil to be found, but not in the quantities we've seen in the past. The big fields have been found and the smaller fields, well, there's not enough of them to replenish the base." --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky