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Harold Hamm’s Oil Empire Threatened by Messy Divorce

The oil empire of Harold Hamm, one of America’s wealthiest and most influential oil barons, is threatened by the contentious divorce in which he is currently involved.

His second wife, Sue Ann Hamm, filed for divorce on the 19th May 2012, alleging, according to Reuters, that Harold was having an affair.

Following the discovery of the Bakken filed in North Dakota in the 1990’s Harold Hamm, and his company Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR), have led a resurgence in the US oil industry using the controversial technique known as fracking. He has become the leading force behind the current oil boom, being named one of the most influential people in the world by Times magazine, and one the America’s 50th richest by Forbes, with a net worth of around $11.3 billion.

Related article: Lebanon’s Oil Industry Heading into Troubled Waters

During their 24 year marriage Mrs Hamm held several key posts at Continental, working hard to create the company’s oil and gas marketing units, currently she holds no position with the company.

It is still unclear as to whether a prenuptial agreement was signed before the marriage, but the lack of one could lead to the largest financial settlement in history, exceeding the $1.7 billion paid by Rupert Murdoch to his ex-wife in 1999.

Hamm’s stake in Continental is threatened because courts usually consider what each party has contributed when determining a fair settlement. Both husband and wife worked hard to grow the company, seeing its share price rise nearly 500% since 2007.

Legal specialist Atwood, explained that “a court in Oklahoma may look closely at what each party has contributed. But it sounds to me like both spouses here were working hard in the business.”

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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