Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr., frequently called T. Boone, is a former corporate raider and takeover operator. This American financier is the current chair of the BP Capital Management hedge fund. Forbes reports his net worth at approximately $1.4 billion, making him the 328th wealthiest person in the U.S. and 879th wealthiest in the world.
Oil and gas were in his blood, as both his parents had occupations related to these commodities. After graduating from Oklahoma A&M with a geology degree in 1951, Mr. Pickens began working for Phillips Petroleum. He left Phillips in 1954, spent two years as a wildcat well driller, and then founded the company that would eventually be known as Mesa Petroleum.
In 1981, Mesa was one of the largest independent oil companies on the planet. Mr. Pickens focused on corporate acquisitions during the 1980s. Attempted buyouts of Unocal, Phillips Petroleum, Gulf Oil, and Cities Service were among the most publicized deals. The takeover bid for Gulf Oil landed Mr. Pickens on the March 1985 cover of Time magazine. Newmont Mining, one of the largest gold producers worldwide, was one of his many later targets.
Mr. Pickens founded BP Energy Fund in 1997, with the BP standing for “Boone Pickens,” not “British Petroleum.” This company, now known as BP Capital Management, runs the Capital Equity and Capital Commodity hedge funds. Each fund primarily invests in traditional energy companies like Shaw Group, Schlumberger, and Halliburton. In 2007, Mr. Pickens earned $2.7 billion from his 46 percent interest in BP Capital Management.
As someone outspoken regarding peak oil, Mr. Pickens has promoted alternative energy, called for more nuclear power plants to be constructed, and advocated national transportation systems powered by natural gas. In 1997, he formed Pickens Fuel Corp., which was reincorporated as Clean Energy Fuels Corp. At that time, he began promoting natural gas as an alternative vehicular fuel.