By Matthew J. Belvedere
Oilman Boone Pickens said Monday U.S. crude hit bottom at just above $26 per barrel, and based on history, prices should double within 12 months.
Pickens predicted on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that oil prices will rise to at least $52 per barrel by the end of the year, though he reiterated his admission that he got last year’s call wrong when he thought prices would strongly rebound.
Whether it’s $50 or $70 by the end of 2016 will largely be determined by the global economy, he added.
West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, was under pressure again Monday — losing around 3 percent mid-morning and trading below $33 per barrel.
“We’re still building inventories, and we will for the next several months. And then we’ll start to draw,” Pickens said. “Once you start to draw, you’re not going to start back building again. The draw will come here in the next few months. It’ll become pretty clear.”
“We’re [only] on 1 million to 1.5 million [barrels per day] oversupplied in the market,” he added, pointing to the glut in the mid-1980s that he said was 15 million barrels per day oversupplied.
In a CNBC commentary in October, Pickens conceded his prediction for $70 oil by the end of 2015 wasn’t going to happen, because worldwide demand did not go up as much as he thought and supply did not markedly go down.
On the final trading day of last year, WTI settled at around $37 per barrel.
As crude accelerated to the downside in 2016, Pickens told CNBC’s “Mad Money” on Jan. 6 that oil was close to its floor, and predicted $70 to $75 prices by year end. The low for the year on WTI was $26.55 per barrel on Jan. 20.
With more than a half century in the oil and gas business, Pickens spent most of his career building Mesa Petroleum into a powerhouse. After selling Mesa in 1996, he founded BP Capital Management, an investment firm focusing on the energy industry.