T. Boone's Investors Say 'See Ya'

We pointed out Sunday night that investor and wind crusader T. Boone Pickens admitted on 60 Minutes that he and his fund are down a staggering $2 billion from the drop in oil and natural gas prices this year. For someone who’s touting an energy plan to get the U.S. off foreign oil by using natural gas-powered vehicles and wind, it doesn’t look so good to have bet so wrong on the drop in prices. But here’s even worse news: The Wall Street Journal says about half of the investors in Picken’s energy fund are heading for the exit faster than victims of a spontaneous Carrot Top show.

The Journal reports that, according to people close to the matter, some investors have asked to withdraw their funds due to 60 percent losses this year; after those withdrawals BP Capital will have between $400 million and $500 million, down from $2 billion at the beginning of the year. Personally Pickens has lost about $400 million this year, the Journal notes, and he will hold 20 percent of the fund after withdrawals, or $100 million.

Pickens told 60 Minutes that he would get his losses back, but he acknowledged that this is serious money. As recently as September he was betting that oil would finish the year around $120 or $125.

Pickens has also been planning on spending $10 billion on a massive wind farm in Texas, and he has been investing in other forms of clean power like natural gas distribution for vehicles. Then there’s the $58 million spent on running his energy plan media campaign. We’re wondering how the losses will effect his wind investment and overall energy plan. On Monday, FPL Group, the largest wind operator in the U.S. said that it would slash wind turbine additions and spending next year. Will Pickens be forced to cut back on clean energy?

Update: Well, it’s starting to sound like Pickens could very well be cutting back on wind. SolveClimate has a piece on a rumor that Pickens is selling off some of his wind turbines. And Picken’s Mesa Power told NewsChannel 10 that:

“The capital markets are problematic for everyone, and we are keeping an eye on them. We are committed to wind development projects and believe it’s a viable business for us. The capital markets may lead us to scale back a bit but we are still going forward with our wind business.”

Update II: We confirmed with Picken’s team that he may scale back his wind project.