Forbes has published the latest edition of its global list of billionaires, featuring 565 from the U.S., which made the country the top generator of billionaires again. Figures from the IT and finance industries took the tops spots, as has become usual, but the oil and gas industry seems to be doing well, too, with more than a dozen entries from Texas alone.
The top-100 of this year’s more than 2000-name list saw three entries from the U.S. oil and gas industry – Continental Resources’ Harold Hamm with a net worth estimated at $13 billion, at #87; and brothers Charles and David Koch, each worth $48.3 billion and sharing the number 8 spot.
Among the Texan entries, the highest place was occupied by Richard Kinder of Kinder Morgan, who ranked 194th, with his net worth up 33 percent from last year to $7.1 billion. Kinder Morgan also did pretty well in 2016, reporting a healthy increase in net profits to $721 million from $208 million in 2016.
At #261, Forbes ranked the heirs of another pipeline mogul, Dan Duncan of Enterprise Pipeline Partners. The four siblings saw their net worth rise to $5.7 billion this year, while the company their father founded reported a slight decline in net profit for 2016 at $2.553 billion, from $2.558 billion for 2015.
Ray Lee Hunt, the heir of H. L. Hunt, ranked $339th, with a net worth of $4.7 billion. Hunt is the chairman of Hunt Consolidated, which spans across industries including oil, utilities, real estate, and investment. The oil business, Hunt Oil, is among the largest private energy companies in the U.S.
Kelcy Warren, the co-founder of Energy Transfer Partners, was another entry from the pipeline industry, at #367 with a net worth of $4.3 billion. Energy Transfer Partners has been in the media spotlight recently because of its Dakota Access project, which led to months of protests. The pipeline has already started transporting oil from Bakken.
Jeffery Hildbrand of Hilcorp Energy ranked 402nd, with a net worth of $4.3 billion. The company itself ranked 41st on Fortune’s list of best employers this year. Related: OPEC Weighs Extension As Oil Markets Start To Lose Their Nerve
The next entry from Houston, John Arnold from Centaurus Energy Advisors, came in at #660 with a net worth of $3 billion. Arnold, a legend in energy trading, warned back in 2015 that half the U.S. oil and gas industry could go bankrupt in 2016 if oil prices did not recover.
George Bishop, the low-profile CEO of GeoSouthern Energy, ranked 814th with a net worth of $2.5 billion on Forbes’ list. The company is an independent shale player, which in 2013 struck a $6-billion deal in cash to sell its Eagle Ford assets to Devon Energy – one of the biggest deals in shale oil. According to Forbes, Bishop alone took home $1.5 billion.
Outside Houston, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, ten out of 22 billionaires on the Forbes list had ties to the oil industry.
Overall, the average net worth of the 2,000+ billionaires on the Forbes list was $3.75 billion. Most of the oil industry entries saw their net worth rise last year, too, with the Texan entries having an average net worth of $4.1 billion.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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