A Boone to Energy Independence
Under the guidance of T(homas) Boone Pickens, Mesa Petroleum established itself as one of the world's largest independent oil companies between 1973 and 1981. It was Pickens' repeated attempts to take over companies much larger than his own that led to his and Mesa's greatest fame, however. In the spring of '82, for instance, he made a play (ultimately unsuccessful but highly profitable) to take over Cities Service, an old-line company more than twenty times the size of Mesa. (In a remarkable series of transitions, Cities Service became CITGO, was sold to the Southland [7-Eleven] Corporation, and ended up as a government-owned company of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez!)
Fast forward to 2008. The post-Mesa Pickens, today a hedge-fund billionaire ranked 368th among the world's richest, has unveiled a national energy plan designed to cut US dependence on foreign oil. While Pickens claims that he's too old and rich to care much about reaping a windfall from this plan, it should be noted that the plan is built around wind energy and natural gas, both areas of heavy Pickens investment. Still, his ideas have a great deal more practical substance than anything that has emanated or is likely to emanate from Washington any time soon.
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