By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Despite the company's missteps-steps, BP got a vote of confidence from a fellow oil man Wednesday. Billionaire T. Boone Pickens says critics should quit picking on British Petroleum.
Pickens was in Tulsa Wednesday for political fundraiser for U.S. Congressman John Sullivan. But he ended up talking about the politics of an oil spill.
Before he was a billionaire T. Boone Pickens worked off-shore as a geologist and a manager. He says his heart goes out to the rig hands who lost their lives, but now is not the time for finger pointing in the Gulf disaster.
"Leave the BP people alone," Pickens said. "Don't try to pin the blame. Get the problem fixed. Leave them alone. Don't bother them. They are the best people to fix the problem."
Left alone, British Petroleum has tried and failed again and again to control the leak. But Pickens says you can't rush a solution.
"I'm just saying I don't think you can make them be any better than where they are right now," Pickens said.
Pickens says he's been on the phone with BP talking over the problem. But the man who made billions in oil didn't have any rosy predictions.
"You're gonna go on another two or three months with this because it's going to take that long to get a relief well in position," he said. "And just getting a relief, well there doesn't mean they'll be able to kill that well."
Pickens says it could be six months before the spill is sealed.
As the oil slick closes in on the Gulf coast, the disaster is spilling over into national politics. But Pickens says he doesn't want to use BP's problems to push a political agenda.
"We're not going to try to capitalize on somebody's disaster, eleven people killed, and everything else," Pickens said. "Maybe you should go this way instead of that way. I want BP to get out of trouble as quickly as it can."
Pickens is working with Congressman John Sullivan to push for legislation, focusing on home-grown natural gas instead of foreign oil.
While he wouldn't say how long it would take to fix the leak in the gulf, he did say with great confidence we'd pass an energy bill this year.