Boone Pickens sees oil rising, bets on Bush for White House

Thu May 7, 2015 10:40pm EDT
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens, who cemented his fortune with bets on oil companies, said the price of oil would likely hit $75 dollars a barrel by yearend as demand revives.

The octogenarian corporate-raider-turned-hedge-fund-investor also mused about politics, saying he has put his money on former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He complained about gridlock in Washington and called Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton a "loser."

At age 86, Pickens packed a ballroom at the annual SkyBridge Alternatives Conference, or SALT, where hedge fund managers and investors are meeting to talk markets and politics and later held court for a group of journalists.

Talking about what he knows best, Pickens said the price of oil would climb because demand has picked up anew, with worldwide demand hovering around 1.5 million barrels a day, up from 660,000 barrels a day in 2014.

At the same time, oil inventories have peaked as fewer rigs are pumping oil now in the United States.

Last year's unexpected decline in oil prices hurt many hedge fund managers.

As Pickens was speaking, oil prices tumbled 3 percent on Thursday as a resurgent dollar erased gains from the past two sessions, setting the market up for its first weekly loss in five. U.S. crude settled down $1.99, at $58.94 a barrel.

Turning to politics, Pickens clearly had a favorite candidate in mind even as most hedge fund managers are still evaluating an ever-growing field on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton, who leads in the quest to capture the Democratic nomination.   Continued...

Energy investor T. Boone Pickens participates in the Washington Ideas Forum, in Washington October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst