Friday, February 22, 2008

T. Boone Short on Oil & Gas - For Now

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil investor T. Boone Pickens said on Thursday he has a short position on oil and natural gas on expectations that prices will fall in the near term.

Pickens, speaking on CNBC television, said he expects the price of oil to fall $10 to $15 a barrel in the second quarter from the $100 it hit on the U.S. market this week. But he said he expects the price of oil to be back above $100 a barrel in the second half of year.

He also called natural gas prices unusually high and said he expects them to back off also.

Investors who sell securities short make a profit by betting stock or commodity prices will fall. Short-sellers borrow securities and then sell them, waiting for the asset price to fall so they can buy the asset back at the lower price, return them to the lender and pocket the difference.

Pickens, who heads the $4 billion BP Capital hedge fund, had said in September he expected oil prices to reach $100 based on growing global demand.

U.S. oil prices peaked at $101.32 per barrel on Wednesday, surpassing the highs near $100 hit early in January, on expectations that OPEC will maintain or even cut its supplies when ministers meet on March 5.

Pickens earned more than $1 billion in 2006, putting him among the highest paid fund managers in the country, according to Trader magazine.

April crude oil futures in New York dropped 44 cents to $99.26 per barrel on Thursday after inventory data from the U.S. government showed a sixth consecutive weekly increase.

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