Pickens to Win

That T. Boone Pickens--quite the optimist. First he donates $25,000 to the "Vote Yes! It's Our Future" political committee, which is out there pushing the $1.35 billion bond package going before voters November 7 even though there's no group out there even opposing the thing. Then he tells the Bloomberg News Service, in an exclusive interview, that never you mind the dropping price of oil; just you wait, the sucker's gonna explode like a cat in microwave, or something.

Pickens, whose BP Capital Management, L.P., has made a fortune "Investing With Energy," told the news agency that crude oil will reach $70 a barrel before the end of 2006. This, even though only yesterday the price of crude closed at $58.52 per barrel, or nearly $20 less than the price as recently as July. Not that Pickens doesn't know how to make dough investing in the future of gas and heating oil and crude; says the story, the BP Capital Energy Commodity Fund's up 120 percent this year, which, by my bad math, sounds good. (It actually made $3.2 billion in profit in 2005. Enh.) Still, that seems awfully pessimistic. Or optimistic, depending on which side you're rooting for.

"I think you'll see $70 before you see $50,'' Pickens tells Bloomberg. "It'll tighten up here in the fourth quarter and move back up and we'll see $70 before the first of the year. I'm making decisions on that basis.'' He also repeated an earlier prediction that oil will scrape the $100 mark by July 2007. Good, at least one of us will be rich. --Robert Wilonsky

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