With successful raids on Gulf Oil and Phillips Petroleum behind him, Texas oilman/financier T. Boone Pickens Jr. Thursday turned up the heat on Union Oil Company of California, the 10th largest oil company in the United States. A partnership headed by Pickens bought 6.7 million shares of Los Angeles-based Unocal Wednesday for $322 million and said it is considering seeking to gain control or restructure Unocal. The Pickens group now owns 13.6 percent of the firm and is seeking postponement of Unocal's April 29 annual meeting in order to prepare a restructuring plan.
Unocal chairman Fred. L. Hartley has pledged to fight any takeover attempt and has roundly criticized takeover raids as attempts to gain ``only short-term profit without contributing to our industry and the economy as a whole.'' Pickens contends he is simply maximizing the value of these stocks for shareholders in a faltering industry.