Fuel tycoons – the top five richest people in oil and gas

12 August 2019 (Last Updated January 31st, 2020 07:51)

Three of the top five richest people in oil and gas are Russians, who steered their companies towards growth post the fall of the Soviet Union. Offshore-technology lists the five richest people in oil and gas based on Forbes’ estimates of net worth.

The world’s richest people in oil and gas: Ranking the top five

5. Harold Hamm

4. Gennady Timchenko

3. Vagit Alekperov

2. Leonid Mikhelson

1. Mukesh Ambani

5. Harold Hamm - $13.8bn

[caption id="attachment_72477" align="alignnone" width="800"]Harold Hamm Harold Hamm serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources. Image courtesy of David Shankbone.[/caption]

Harold Hamm is the chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources, which is the biggest lease holder in the Bakken shale in North Dakota, US. He owns 76% interest in the company and has served as director since 1967.

Hamm was the first to utilise horizontal drilling and fracturing to recover oil from the Bakken shale, which transformed the US oil industry. The Bakken shale accounts for 52% of Continental Resources proved reserves.

Hamm also founded the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, which aims to preserve jobs and economic activity generated by onshore oil and gas activities in the US. He has received several awards and recognition including the lifetime achievement award from Platts Global Energy Awards and the Horatio Alger Award.

4. Gennady Timchenko - $21.3bn

[caption id="attachment_72476" align="alignnone" width="800"]Gennady Timchenko Gennady Timchenko amassed his wealth through his investment arms Volga Resources and ENA Invest. Image courtesy of Пресс-служба Президента России.[/caption]

Gennady Timchenko owns 23.5% interest in NOVATEK and 17% interest in petrochemicals manufacturer Sibur through his investment arms Volga Resources and ENA Invest.

Volga Resources was formed following the sale of a 44% stake in Gunvor Group, a Cyprus-based oil trader, which Timchenko established in 2000. Through the company, Timchenko acquired stakes not only in NOVATEK but also in Stroytransgaz, a construction company, and Transoil, a rail company.

Timchenko has since diversified his holdings through Volga Resources in companies operating in the field of insurance, banking, logistics, and mining.

3. Vagit Alekperov - $21.6bn

[caption id="attachment_72475" align="alignnone" width="800"]Vagit Alekperov Vagit Alekperov owns 25% stake in Lukoil, Russia’s third biggest oil and gas company.[/caption]

Vagit Alekperov is the president and CEO of Russia-based oil and gas company Lukoil, in which he owns approximately 25% stake. He is also the chairman of the company’s management committee and a member of the board of directors.

Lukoil is the third biggest oil and gas company in Russia and also has significant interests outside Russia including the West Qurna in Iraq, Shah-Deniz in Azerbaijan, and Tano block in Ghana.

Alekperov has steered the company towards growth by investing in the Bahzenov shale in Siberia along with Total. The Bahzenov shale is considered to be nine times bigger than the Bakken shale.

2. Leonid Mikhelson - $25.4bn

[caption id="attachment_72474" align="alignnone" width="800"]Leonid Mikhelson Leonid Mikhelson founded NOVATEK to explore the oil and gas reserves in the Yamal Nenets region in Russia. Image courtesy of Krassotkin.[/caption]

Leonid Mikhelson is the chairman of the management board of Russian oil and gas company, NOVATEK. He is also the founder of the company, which was established in 1994 to explore the oil and gas reserves in the Yamal Nenets region.

The US imposed sanctions on NOVATEK, following Russia’s involvement in aggression towards Ukraine. Despite the sanctions, the company was able to deliver some of the world’s biggest LNG projects such as the Yamal LNG project, on time.

Mikhelson has been focussing on further strengthening NOVATEK’s business by launching several LNG projects such as the Artic LNG 2. He has been conferred with several honours from the Russian Federation including the Order of the Badge of Honour, the Order of Merit for the Fatherland 2 degree, and the most Honoured man of the gas industry.

1. Mukesh Ambani - $55.3bn

[caption id="attachment_72473" align="alignnone" width="800"]Mukesh Ambani Mukesh Ambani steered Reliance Industries towards petroleum refining, and oil and gas exploration and production. Image courtesy of World Economic Forum.[/caption]

Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, initiated the transition of the company from a textiles business to a petroleum refining, and oil and gas exploration and production company.

Under Ambani’s leadership, the world’s largest grassroots petroleum refinery was developed in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India. The refinery has an estimated capacity of 33 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) and established Jamnagar as a refining hub. Reliance Industries recorded a 44.6% jump in annual revenues to $89.52bn for the fiscal year ended in March 2019, fuelled by the rise in brent crude price.

Ambani has also diversified Reliance Industries’ business into telecom (brand Jio) and retail. He is ranked among the TIME 100 most influential people in 2019 as well as Fortune’s world’s 50 greatest leaders of 2018.