Boone Pickens joked that it took 25 years for him to be asked to
speak at an AAPG annual meeting — and when the opportunity finally
arose the topic was water, not oil and gas.
asked to speak at the AAPG convention 25 years ago, but that didn't
work out, so when I was asked this year I figured I better take
you up on it because if 25 more years pass I might not get another
chance," he teased.
one of AAPG's higher profile members, spoke at the Division of Environmental
Geology luncheon in Dallas about his role in developing and exploiting
water resources on his land.
myself to be an environmentalist, and when the water situation in
Roberts County (Texas) came up I was certainly aware of and sensitive
to the environmental aspects of this business opportunity," he said.
"While I want to help my neighbors and myself make some money on
this deal, Roberts County is my home and I have just as much interest
in protecting the resources of the area.
have said, 'Pickens is going to turn the area into a Dust Bowl.'
Do they really think I'm that stupid? I'm not going to sell all
the water and not have enough to run my operation. I have a golf
course on my ranch, so I use a lot of water," he joked.
Pickens said his group, unlike some others, is bound by an agreement
to only draw down the water reservoir by 50 percent.
detailed his seven-year odyssey to sell surplus water from a four
county area in the Texas Panhandle.
prospect of selling water first surfaced in 1997, people asked me
if I thought the water would be worth much. I said I thought it
would be worth more than the oil — a pretty safe call since there
isn't any oil in this part of Texas," he said. "This is the only
place in the world I ever drilled that I couldn't drill a dry hole.
If I drill for water, I get water."
appreciates his ability to draw attention. He said Time magazine
and the news show "60 Minutes" came to Roberts County looking for
a story on the water deal.
this is certainly not a sensational news scoop, the sweetest part
of this story is the benefit to local landowners," he said. "Today
we have 400,000 acres signed up in Roberts County, encompassing
200 landowners. If we sell this water for $500 an acre, that will
amount to about $1 million per family. That's big.
want to make this deal for these folks," he continued. "I don't
need the money as much as my neighbors do, and I have told them
we will stick together. These are huge numbers to people who I think
deserve to capitalize on their assets."