According to one Oklahoma oil tycoon, the answer to fighting terrorism is natural gas.
In an essay published in Time magazine, T. Boone Pickens claims that by using more natural gas, which is “a key weapon in the war on terror,” the U.S. can win the ongoing battle against terrorism. In his essay, Pickens go on to explain the U.S.’s dependence on OPEC oil and how it has now become a growing threat from ISIS, which Pickens refers to as the “Organized Petroleum Exporting Caliphate.”
Pickens explains how our dependence on oil from the Middle East is no longer an economic issue; it has now transformed into a national security matter. He states, “As long as we keep buying oil from the Middle East, our enemies can continue to fund terrorism.” Saudi Arabia continues to play geopolitics with world oil prices so it can protect its own market share. However, ISIS is now giving Saudi Arabia considerable amounts of money by illegally selling oil taken from Iran and Syria on the world market. ISIS’s funding reaches about $3 million per day. Pickens expressed that once stolen oil is on a tanker, it looks like any other countries oil and we as a nation are ultimately funding terrorism:
Not too long ago, there were serious questions about whether the purchase of oil by America (and other nations) was funding the expansion of one of the greatest terror threats of this generation. Once oil from ISIS gets loaded onto a tanker, it looks the same as oil from Kuwait or Abu Dhabi. We’re buying a lot of it, so we are effectively paying for both sides of the war against ISIS.
While battling ISIS, another terrorist group is slowly making its way back into the war on terrorism picture. Pickens notes that Al-Qaeda is creeping back to the top of the “terror list,” that the group is “urging its followers to disrupt oil shipments at ‘choke points’ like the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Gibraltar.”
According to Pickens, knowing these facts and knowing that both of these terrorist groups are now affiliated with the oil the U.S. is purchasing and using, Americans now face a serious dilemma. Is the continuation of purchasing oil from the Middle East a threat to our nation’s security?
To solve and win the war on terror, Pickens suggests “continuing the trend of converting heavy-duty vehicles from diesel to natural gas,” also known as the “Pickens Plan.” The plan was created in 2008 and focuses on transportation, which accounts for over two-thirds of the U.S.’ oil consumption. Pickens explained the need for the nation to continue moving forward with the plan:
More than ever, we need to move our heavy-duty trucks from diesel to natural gas. Thanks to private-sector leadership, a national fueling network to support natural gas trucks on America’s interstate highways has developed, but we need more government and private-sector leadership to expand this effort. That will introduce the first real competition into our fuel supply. It will improve our balance of trade, it will improve our environment, and it will remove the last marked card from OPEC’s poker hand over our national security.
While noting that the transition from diesel to natural gas is not easy, Pickens reminds us that he is supportive of anything that will benefit America. For example, if we as a nation have the opportunity to expand the affordable battery-powered car industry, it should be done.
Pickens highlights the U.S.’ incredible technology advancements when it comes to crude oil and natural gas recovery, and the amount of oil and gas we have yet to develop. Pickens believes now is the time to “decouple our energy-focused military presence in the Middle East.” After risking the lives of thousands soldiers at war, he believes it is time to “turn our back on OPEC” and focus on our own nation. It is time to chase after a North American Energy Alliance with our neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
Pickens wraps up his essay and stance on natural gas and war on terrorism with the following:
As I’ve said since the beginning: Natural gas is cheaper, it’s cleaner, and it’s ours. Let’s make it a key part of our energy future, and a key weapon in the war on terror.