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U.S. Energy Tycoons See Net Worth Jump 10% Since Start Of The Ukraine War

  • U.S. energy billionaires have seen their net worth jump 10% to $239B.
  • The increase in wealth has primarily been driven by a surge in energy stock prices.
  • Brent crude prices have gained 32% since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

As the surge in oil prices continues amid increasing demand and a supply crunch, U.S. energy stocks have been soaring--and the country's oil and gas tycoons are laughing all the way to the bank. 

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, U.S. energy billionaires have seen their net worth jump 10% to $239B since Russia launched its war against Ukraine, with one company founder catapulted into the ranks of the world's 500 richest people. 

The increase in wealth has primarily been driven by a surge in energy stock prices thanks to a corresponding jump in fuel prices driven by concerns about disruptions to Russian output in the face of sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained as much as 32% since the outbreak of war. 

Here's a run down of how the richest energy billionaires in the United States have seen their fortunes multiply in what is shaping up as yet another epic oil and gas bull market. The list only includes people who have primarily made their money in oil and gas and does not include clean energy investors.

#1. Harold Hamm

       Country: United States

       Industry: Oil & Gas

       Net Worth: $19.5B

       YTD Change: +$5.75B (+41.2%)

Harold Hamm is chairman of Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), the biggest oil producer in the Bakken oil basin in North Dakota and Montana. After a torrid run in 2021 that saw its shares triple in value, the Oklahoma City-based publicly traded company has seen its shares climb another 35.1% YTD--and the United States' richest energy billionaire is definitely not complaining.

After all, Hamm has seen his net worth jump 41.2% in the space of barely three months, and his position in Bloomberg's wealth index climbed 37 places to 84th.

A couple of weeks ago, Continental Resources announced that it will commit $250M over the next two years to help fund the development and construction of the largest carbon capture and sequestration project of its kind in the world.

As of December 31, 2021, its proved reserves were 1,645 million barrels of crude oil equivalent (MMBoe) with proved developed reserves of 908 MMBoe. 

#2. Jeffrey Hildebrand

       Country: United States

       Industry: Oil & Gas

       Net Worth: $13.2B

       YTD Change: +$6.63B (+101%)

Jeffrey Hildebrand is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Hilcorp Energy Company, one of the largest, privately held exploration and production companies in the United States. Hildebrand has seen his net worth more than double in the first three months of 2022 to make him the second richest energy billionaire in the United States.

A member of the All American Wildcatters, Hildebrand previously worked for the American Energy Capital Corporation, the Dan A. Hughes Company, and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) before he founded Hilcorp Energy Company in 1990. Hildebrand later bought out his partner for $500 million in 2003.

Hilcorp has repeatedly been ranked on Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For, and made waves in 2013 after it awarded all its 1,380 employees a $100,000 Christmas bonus. With another oil price boom unfolding, maybe Hilcorp employees are in for another round of Hildebrand's largesse.

#3. Richard Kinder

       Country: United States

       Industry: Oil & Gas

       Net Worth: $8.66B

       YTD Change: +$606M (+7.5%)

Richard Kinder is the chairman and largest shareholder of Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE:KMI), a publicly traded energy storage and pipeline company. KMI operates 144 terminals and 83,000 miles of pipeline that transport natural gas, crude oil, ethanol and other petroleum products.

Kinder served as chief executive officer from the company's founding in 1997 until 2015.       

A week ago, Kinder Morgan and Enbridge (NYSE:ENB) wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting it not to apply a tough new climate standard to pipeline and liquefied natural gas projects already under review.Kinder Morgan has two projects awaiting FERC approval: constructing or modifying three compressor stations on pipelines in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and building 13 miles of new pipeline and two new compressor stations on its Louisiana and Mississippi gas pipeline network.

In the past, KMI has been accused of not being aggressive enough with climate action, which might explain the stock's lackluster 12.3% YTD gain vs. 35.2% by the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLE).

#4. George Kaiser

       Country: United States

       Industry: Oil & Gas

       Net Worth: $7.70B

       YTD Change: +$2.53B (+48.9%)



George Bruce Kaiser, Tulsa, Oklahoma's pre-eminent philanthropist, is president, CEO and primary owner of GBK Corporation, parent of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company, which he has managed for almost 50 years.

Kaiser took control of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company in 1969 after his father had a heart attack. Back then, Kaiser-Francis was a little-known, privately owned oil prospecting and drilling company. Under George's management, however, it has grown into the largest nonpublic energy exploration company in the U.S., with annual revenue of ~$560 million. According to 

Kaiser is also the chairman of Bank of Oklahoma, which he bought out of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation receivership in 1990.

#5.  Dannine Avara

       Country: United States

       Industry: Oil & Gas

       Net Worth: $7.49B

       YTD Change: +$521M (+7.4%)

Dannine Avara is a billionaire heir to the Duncan family, through Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD), a Texas-based energy pipeline giant which remains under family control. Due to a temporary repeal of the estate tax law for the year 2010, Duncan became, along with her brother Scott, the first American billionaire to pay no estate tax since its enactment.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. provides midstream energy services to producers and consumers of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), crude oil, petrochemicals, and refined products. The company's Natural Gas Pipelines & Services segment operates natural gas pipeline systems to gather, treat, and transport natural gas. EPD also leases underground salt dome natural gas storage facilities in Napoleonville, Louisiana, and owns an underground salt dome storage cavern in Wharton County, Texas.

EPD is a big dividend payer, and currently sports a Yield (FWD) of 7.44%. EPD shares, however, continue lagging the sector with a 10.5% YTD gain.

By Alex Kimani for OIlprice.com

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