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Pickens questions need for SPR

April 5, 2013 at 6:50 AM

HOUSTON, April 5 (UPI) -- U.S. energy production gains have made it so the country might not need the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, billionaire T. Boone Pickens said.

Pickens told Bloomberg News that domestic oil and natural gas production was moving forward despite what he described as "incompetent" lawmakers in Washington.

"We have the cheapest energy in the world," he said. "In a way, (domestic gains are) all happening anyway."

Pickens said U.S. policymakers may be able to develop a network of natural gas-powered vehicles that would help ensure energy independence.

A series of refinery issues and overseas market issues caused an early season gasoline price spike this year. Pro-energy lawmakers said that wouldn't be as severe if the country used domestic reserves to protect itself.

Pickens since 2008 has supported tax credits for natural gas vehicles. Since then, new technologies like horizontal drilling have put the United States in a leadership position in terms of natural gas.

He said selling off a portion of the 727 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve, established to protect against overseas shocks, could support energy goals financially.

"Do we really need the SPR?" Pickens asked.

Pickens, a Texas oil magnate, has said reserves in the United States make the country the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas."

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