Not that they’re anywhere close to the world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, but two Oklahomans have made the latest Forbes Report on the world’s wealthiest people who total more than 2,100.
Oklahoma’s Harold Hamm, the fracking pioneer who founded and still runs Oklahoma City’s Continental Resources was ranked #61 on the list with an estimated fortune of $12.7 billion. Forbes listed it as “Harold Hamm and family.”
His fortune pales compared to Bezos who became the first person last year to top the list with a value of $131 billion. Combine Hamm’s fortune with that of Tulsa oilman George Kaiser and they’re still not close to matching the Bezos weatlth.
Kaiser made the list ranked at #191 with $7.6 billion. Two others who have some Oklahoma business ties, Charles and David Koch were ranked #11 with a fortune totaling $50.5 billion. They run Koch Industries based in Wichita, Kansas.
Here’s how Forbes profiled Harold Hamm:
- Fracking pioneer Harold Hamm runs Continental Resources, one of the nation’s biggest independent oil companies.
- The 13th child of Oklahoma sharecroppers, he picked cotton barefoot as a child and started working at a gas station at age 16 to support his family.
- He eventually started his own trucking company hauling water to and from oilfields, then in 1971 took out a loan to drill his first well.
- In the 1990s he had the vision to use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota’s Bakken region, transforming the US oil industry.
- Today Continental produces more than 200,000 barrels per day, much of it from North Dakota’s Bakken formation.
- Hamm, who has type-2 diabetes, has donated about $30 million to establish the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma.
The magazine profiled George Kaiser this way:
- In the 1930s Kaiser’s parents fled Nazi Germany and settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- George took over Kaiser-Francis Oil Company in the 1960s.
- Kaiser bought Bank of Oklahoma in 1991 for $60 million; he owns about 57% of the publicly-traded bank.
- Kaiser has donated more than $4 billion to his charitable foundations, which focus on early childhood education.
Forbes reported that for only the second year in a decade, the number of billionaires and their fortunes shrank. The magazine totaled 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than a year ago.