Boone Pickens quits energy trading

Pickens, 89, chairman of BP Capital Fund Advisors, announced in a letter that he is shutting the commodity and energy stock hedge funds he runs.

Pickens, 89, cited health concerns and a loss of interest in trading oil for his decision in a letter.

"It's no secret the past year has not been good to me, from a health perspective or a financial one", he wrote. "But for me, personally, trading oil is not as intriguing to me as it once was", Pickens says. He is still recovering from a serious fall last summer and suffered a series of strokes in late 2016. The fund, which lost money in two of the last three years, had about 125 investors prior to its closing, he added.

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In August 2017, Andy Hall, the trader nicknamed "Oil God", was said to be winding down his main hedge fund after it posted big losses in the first half of past year. The oil crash that began in 2014 roiled several energy-focused funds as prices fell by more than 70%. Pierre Andurand's Andurand Commodities Fund lost 4.47 percent in 2017, according to data from HSBC, while Merchant Commodity Fund fell 11.6 percent previous year and is down 0.4 percent so far in 2018. He soon started Mesa Petroleum, a company he ran for almost 40 years until he retired in 1996 at 68.

Pickens gained notoriety and celebrity in the 1980s as a dealmaker who launched leveraged buyouts of oil companies including Phillips Petroleum Co, Gulf Oil Corp and Unocal Corp.

That willingness to sell his shares back to the company at a premium, a practice known as "greenmail", led to accusations he was not interested in improving or running the companies he challenged.

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Pickens has a lengthy resume in the energy world.

Brian Bradshaw and David Meaney, two of Pickens' top executives, have already left BP Capital and plan to start together an energy fund next week-Assert Capital Management, Meaney told the Journal.

A decade ago, BP Capital managed more than US$2 billion in assets.

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