Famed investor T. Boone Pickens said earlier this week that he believes the U.S. oil industry is “dead in the water” as OPEC members continue to pump more crude and U.S. companies curb drilling.
According to the Washington Post, Pickens said during a dinner hosted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity that he doesn’t expect U.S. drilling operations to pick up again any time soon after OPEC failed to reach a production deal earlier this month.
“The industry is dead in the water,” Pickens told the group.
A meeting in Doha between OPEC members on April 17 failed to produce a production freeze agreement after Saudi Arabia declined to participate if Iran didn’t sign on.
Iranian representatives did not attend the meeting and Iranian officials have repeatedly said their country will not participate in a production freeze now that Western sanctions have been lifted.
Iran posted the largest production gain of any OPEC member in March after boosting production by 110,000 bpd month-over-month to 3.23 million bpd, according to Platts.
OPEC pumped 32.38 million bpd in March after adding 40,000 barrels per day thanks to increased production in Iran, Iraq and Angola.
Pickens told the group that he believes crude prices will have to climb back to at least the $60 per barrel mark before upstreams start spinning their drills again.
Brent crude was trading at $47.51 per barrel at the opening bell on Thursday, up from a low of $31.42 per barrel in early January but still significantly lower than prices in early 2014.
Pickens revealed in an interview with “Bloomberg Go” earlier this year that he has exited all of his oil holdings and will wait to jump back into the sector.
When asked about the possibility of a Saudi Aramco IPO Pickens told the group that he thinks the offer is “a joke” because the company would still be beholden to Saudi political decisions, the Washington Post said.
“Who the hell would want to own Saudi Aramco,” Pickens reportedly told the group
Saudi Aramco confirmed in January that it had begun studying “various options to allow broad public participation in its equity” in either the company as a whole or a bundle of its downstream subsidiaries.”
Once the options have been studied, the findings will be presented to the company’s board of directors who will then make recommendations to the Saudi Aramco Supreme Council.
Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said earlier this week that Saudi Aramco is considering an IPO that could offer less than a 5 percent stake in the state-owned oil giant.
Prince Mohammed pegged the value of the company at more than $2 trillion and said that IPOs for some of the firm’s subsidiaries are also being considered.
Although Pickens wasn’t optimistic about a near-term drilling recovery it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the billionaire investor.
Pickens told the group that he believes the rest of the U.S. economy is benefiting from cheap gasoline prices brought about by the global oil glut.
Pickens said that while current situation is “horrible for the oil business” the rest of the American economy is “doing great” thanks to cheap fuel, according to the Washington Post.