Petroleum is also known as black gold. So it is no surprise that a number of the world's wealthiest people can trace their roots to the oil and gas industry.
Though some of these folks inherited their wealth and have invested wisely, it is the self-made billionaires that we're interested in highlighting.
Their paths to riches are varied but the results are the same for these ten pioneers -- billions:
How he made his fortune: Batista has founded companies in different business sectors, mainly in mining. He made a significant amount of his money by founding OGX oil and gas exploration company in 2007. In addition, his new IPO for shipping business (OSX) is the world's largest IPO this year and is said to have contributed as much as $5.6 billion to his fortune. Batista is the 8th richest person in the world.
How he made his fortune: Fridman founded Alfa Group in the early 1990s with partner Peter Aven. The Alfa Group grew into a diverse oil, retail, telecom, and banking conglomerate. In 2003 he sold half his oil company, TNK, to BP for $6.15 billion, which freed him to focus on his telecom business and his political career. In 2005, he became a Russian representative on the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations. He's also a member of the Public Chamber of Russia. Fridman is currently the 3rd richest man in Russia and the 45th richest man in the world.
How he made his fortune: Alekperov got his start as an offshore rig worker. In 1990, Alekperov was appointed deputy minister of the Oil and Gas Industry of the Soviet Union. He was the youngest deputy energy minister in Soviet history. In 1991 he launched Lukoil with three ministry-controlled oil fields. Today he is the president of Lukoil and owns a 20% stake in the company. Lukoil is Russia's largest independent energy company and the world's second largest reserve holder after ExxonMobil. Alekperov is the sixth richest person in Russia and the 58th richest person in the world.
How he made his fortune: Kaiser's parents developed an oil and gas operation in Oklahoma, Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. in 1940s, which he took over in 1969. Today it is among the world's biggest private energy producers. He bought the Bank of Oklahoma from the FDIC in 1990. Kaiser is one of the top 50 richest people in the world and among the top 50 American philanthropists.
How he made his fortune: Hamm started in the oil industry pumping gas. In 1965 he bought a truck, and in 1966 he founded Harold Hamm Tank Truck Service. He quickly became one of Oklahoma's most successful oilfield fluid transporters. Hamm founded Continental Resources in 1967 and took Hiland Partners and Hiland Holdings, gas-processing firms, private in 2009. Hamm owns more oil and gas than any other American.
How he made his fortune: Rees-Jones worked as a bankruptcy attorney out of college and practiced oil and gas reorganization law, which inspired him to pursue oil and gas investments. He formed Chief Oil and Gas in 1994 and made a number of good investments and sales over the last 16 years, primarily in shale.
How he made his fortune: Headington took over his father's oil and gas business in 1977 and 30 years later sold acreage in the Bakken Shale oil play to XTO Energy for $1.8 billion in 2008. Though he's taken that money and reinvested in moviemaking, Headington Oil still produces 15,000 b/d.
How he made his fortune: Hildebrand is a former Exxon geologist who founded Hilcorp in 1989 with partner Thomas Hook who he bought out in 2003 for $500 million. In 2010 he sold a 40% stake in his Hilcorp Energy's acreage in South Texas' Eagle Ford for $400 million to Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts.
How he made his fortune: As a former wildcatter, Adams established his own wildcatting firm, ADA Oil Company in 1947, which became Adams Resources & Energy. Adams success as an oilman allowed him to finance his passion for football. He helped Lamar Hunt establish the American Football League in 1959 and bought the Houston Oilers for $25 k in 1960. He later moved the team to Tennessee and renamed it the Titans, which he still owns. Adams is the former owner of the Nashville Kats arena football team, and the Houston Mavericks. Adams is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
How he made his fortune: After graduating in 1951, he worked for Phillips Petroleum for three years. He left Phillips and worked as a wildcatter before founding Mesa Petroleum in 1956. By 1981, Mesa had grown into one of the largest independent oil companies in the world. Through a number of acquisitions and takeovers, Pickens grew his self-wealth. He left Mesa in 1996. In 1997, Pickens founded BP (Boone Pickens) Capital Management, in which he holds a 46% interest. The company runs two hedge funds Capital Commodity and Capital Equity, which invest in oil, natural gas and nuclear power companies.
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