Harold Hamm

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Harold Hamm
Harold Hamm 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Hamm at the 2012 Time 100 gala
Harold Glenn Hamm

(1945-12-11) December 11, 1945 (age 74)
Net worthDecrease US$8.9 billion
(January 2020)[1]
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Judith (divorced 1987)
Sue Arnall (divorced 2014)
The Continental Towers in Enid, Oklahoma

Harold Glenn Hamm[2] (born December 11, 1945) is an American entrepreneur primarily involved in the oil and gas business who is best known for pioneering the development of the large shale oil resources of the Bakken formation.[3] As of January 2018, Hamm's net worth is estimated to be $14.2 billion, making him the 79th richest person in the United States.[4] Hamm's net worth peaked at $18.7 billion in September 2014, but decreased to $9.3 billion by 2015. In 2012, presidential candidate Mitt Romney named Hamm as his energy advisor[5] and thereafter Hamm made substantial monetary and advisory contributions to the election effort.

Early life[edit]

Hamm was born in Lexington, Oklahoma, the 13th and youngest child of Oklahoma cotton sharecroppers, Jane Elizabeth (née Sparks) and Leland Albert Hamm.[6][7]


Hamm is a key player in Hiland Partners and Hiland Holdings[8] as well as the shale oil-exploration company Continental Resources, Oklahoma's fourth largest public company.[9][10] Continental Resources moved from the Continental Towers in Enid, Oklahoma, to Oklahoma City in 2012. Hamm was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2011.[11]

Hamm worked his way up from pumping gas and repairing cars[12] to becoming CEO of his own billion-dollar company. As a young man, he went to work in the oil patch and in 1967 at the age of 21 he founded his own company, Continental Resources,[13] a company that was originally called Shelly Dean Oil Company, named for his two daughters.[14] Hamm and Continental Resources pioneered the development of the Bakken Oil Field in Montana and North Dakota using both horizontal drilled wells and Hydraulic fracturing. He became a billionaire and Continental Resources became a major oil producer.[3][15] Hamm was given honorary degrees from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.[16]

The Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma was named after Hamm, who has type 2 diabetes.[16] The Harold and Sue Ann Hamm Foundation donated 10 million dollars to create the center.[14]

Hamm is a member of the Global Leadership Council at Concordia College, Moorhead, Offutt School of Business.[17]

Hamm appeared on the cover of Forbes in May 2014 in a story entitled "Harold Hamm: The Billionaire Oilman Fueling America's Recovery".[18]

In January 2016, Hamm stated that Saudi Arabia's attempt to flood the crude market at a time of oversupply and concerns about weakening demand is not working, believing that oil prices will double by year-end 2016, as Shawn Baldwin, Chairman of alternative investment firm The AIA Group, concurred with these statements.[19]

Political involvement[edit]

Shortly after being named energy advisor to the Romney campaign in March 2012, Hamm donated $985,000 to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.[20] On the eve of the Republican National Convention, Hamm was credited in a report with being among oil and energy executives consulted in a plan to devolve permitting on Federal lands to the state where the land is located. Romney's proposal, which was launched the same week as two industry fundraisers netted $10 million for the campaign, was seen as going beyond roots in the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the sometimes controversial permitting policies of the George W. Bush Administration in the 2000s.[21]

On the third day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, held in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 20, while delivering a speech for the then Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Hamm was critical of the Barack Obama administration's policies for the energy sector, citing the burden that federal regulations represented to American oil producers in an alleged attempt to drive gasoline prices soaring. In his speech, Harold Hamm also denounced the Iran nuclear deal struck by the U.S. Department of State in 2015, saying that it would improve that country's ability to export petroleum and enable Iranian development of the atomic bomb.[22] Hamm also spoke favourably of Trump's policies for the oil and gas industry, which he claimed, if they were implemented, would make Donald Trump the first President to guarantee America's "energy independence".[23] In that same month, it was revealed that Donald Trump was considering Harold Hamm for energy secretary in his administration.[24]

Seeking to dismiss quake scientists[edit]

On May 15, 2015, Bloomberg reported that Hamm told Larry Grillot (the dean of the University of Oklahoma Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy) that he wanted certain earthquake researchers from the university dismissed.[25] The scientists were involved in studying connections between oil and gas activity and the increase in the earthquake activities in the state.

Joe Wertz, reporter for StateImpact,[a] wrote that further examination of Hamm's e-mail to Dean Grillot revealed yet another kind of threat:

Hamm also expressed an interest in joining a search committee charged with finding a new director for the geological survey," according to Grillot's e-mail. And, the dean wrote," Hamm indicated that he would be 'visiting with Governor [Mary] Fallin on the topic of moving the OGS out of the University of Oklahoma.'[26]

Personal life[edit]

Hamm divorced his first wife, Judith Ann, in 1987. They had three children together.[6][27]

In April 1988, Hamm married Sue Ann Hamm (née Arnall) with whom he has two grown daughters, Jane and Hillary.[6] Sue Ann is an economist and lawyer.[28] She has had executive roles at Continental Resources. She filed for divorce on May 19, 2012,[6][29] while Harold has said that he separated from Sue Ann in 2005.[6] In 2014 Forbes reported that a ruling would allow the bulk of his ownership interest in Continental—and hence his net worth—to continue intact after the divorce.[18] However, in August 2014, CNN and several other media outlets reported that Hamm could face a world record divorce settlement, with up to half of his estimated $20 billion fortune potentially being on the line.[30][31] On November 10, 2014, an Oklahoma County judge found that Hamm should pay his second wife $995.5 million. According to an article published on January 7, 2015 by the Wall Street Journal, "She rejected a divorce settlement check in the amount of $974,790,317.77, stating it would jeopardize her appeal with Mr. Hamm." [32] On January 8, 2015, CNBC reported that Sue Ann Arnall had deposited the $975 million settlement check.[33]

Hamm lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[34] He owns homes in Enid, Oklahoma and Nichols Hills, Oklahoma, among other places.[6][35]


  1. ^ StateImpact is " a reporting project of NPR (National Public Radio) member stations


  1. ^ "Harold Hamm & family". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  2. ^ http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA00/20140326/101956/HHRG-113-FA00-Bio-HammH-20140326.pdf
  3. ^ a b Gregory Zuckerman, The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters 2013, Portfolio Penguin. ISBN 9781591846451
  4. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Harold Hamm". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  5. ^ Carroll, Joe (March 1, 2012). "Romney Names Oklahoma Oil Billionaire Hamm as Energy Adviser". Bloomberg.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Grow, Brian, and Joshua Schneyer, "Looming divorce could threaten oil baron's empire", Reuters, March 21, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  7. ^ "Obituaries". The Purcell Register.
  8. ^ "Hiland Partners". HilandPartners.com. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Allen, Cindy, "This is not a drill", The Enid News & Eagle, March 26, 2011
  10. ^ Vardi, Nathan (February 2, 2009). "The Last American Wildcatter". Forbes.
  11. ^ "Harold Hamm selected to Oklahoma Hall of Fame", The Enid News & Eagle, November 12, 2011
  12. ^ Reiger, Andy, "Hamm to receive honorary degrees", The Enid News & Eagle, May 11, 2009
  13. ^ "Harold Hamm: Executive Profile & Biography", Business Week
  14. ^ a b "Harold Hamm Biography", 2010 New Horizons in Oil & Gas Conference
  15. ^ "How North Dakota Became Saudi Arabia", interview of Harold Hamm, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 1, 2011
  16. ^ a b "Harold Hamm: The Business of Benevolence", Distinctly Oklahoma, November 2010
  17. ^ "Global Leadership Council". Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  18. ^ a b Helman, Christopher (May 5, 2014). "Harold Hamm: The Billionaire Oilman Fueling America's Recovery". Forbes.
  19. ^ "Shawn Baldwin Discusses Why Oil Will Hit $60-$65 with Harold Hamm". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  20. ^ "Top Romney Adviser Also Gives Big To Super PAC". Huffington Post. May 23, 2012.
  21. ^ Lipton, Eric, and Clifford Krauss, "Giving Reins to the States Over Drilling", The New York Times, August 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  22. ^ Harold Hamm | Full Speech | 2016 Republican National Convention. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP8xyug7gqw. July 21, 2016. Retrieved on December 11, 2016.
  23. ^ Sisk, Amy (July 21, 2016). "Hamm Touts Trump's Commitment to Oil at RNC". Inside Energy. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  24. ^ Conlin, Michelle (July 21, 2016). "Exclusive: Trump considering fracking mogul Harold Hamm as energy secretary - sources". Reuters. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  25. ^ Benjamin Elgin (with Matthew Philips), "Oil CEO Wanted University Quake Scientists Dismissed: Dean's E-Mail", BloombergBusiness, May 15, 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
  26. ^ Wertz, Joe. "Oil Executive Told University Dean He Wanted Earthquake Scientists Fired." StateImpact. May 18, 2015. Accessed October 24, 2017.
  27. ^ "Harold Hamm Makes Big Gift to University of North Dakota", blogs.wsj.com, September 24, 2012.
  28. ^ Forbes, March 23, 2013.
  29. ^ "Will the Hamms' Divorce Pressure Continental's Stock", CNBC, March 22, 2013.
  30. ^ Steve Hargreaves (12 August 2014). "Oil tycoon could face biggest divorce judgment ever". CNNMoney.
  31. ^ "The Wealthy, Prenuptial Agreements, and Large Divorce Settlements". Law Office of Steven L. Fritsch.
  32. ^ Erin Ailworth (7 January 2015). "Harold Hamm's Ex-Wife Rejects $975 Million Divorce Settlement Check". WSJ.
  33. ^ "Harold Hamm's ex cashes the big check after all", CNBC, January 8, 2015.
  34. ^ Forbes, Profile.
  35. ^ "Continental CEO Hamm, wife Sue Ann are divorcing", The Enid News & Eagle, March 21, 2013.