A founding father of the US shale boom, Harold Hamm, has seen his net worth drop by more than half in the last three months due to falling oil prices, according to Bloomberg.
Hamm is the CEO and founder of Continental Resources, an exploration company that owns 1 million acres in North Dakota’s Bakken oil field. According to Bloomberg, Hamm has seen the value of his shares in the company fall by more than $US12 billion since August. Hamm, who is largest shareholder of Continental, is hardly in poor house. The oil baron still has an estimated net worth of $US11.1 billion, according to the latest figures from Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
As oil prices continue to slide, Hamm told Bloomberg that a slowdown in US shale production is unavoidable:
Will this industry slow down? Certainly,” Hamm said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Nobody’s going to go out there and drill areas, exploration areas and other areas, at a loss. They will pull back and won’t drill it until the price recovers. That’s the way it ought to be.
Meanwhile, November was the strongest month in nearly 30 years for US crude oil output. US oil fields produced 8,864 barrels per day last month, the highest average since May 1986. Hamm added that shale producers in Texas and North Dakota will not be as hard hit by falling prices as some oil-producing nations, like Venezuela and Iran.
“We can adjust quickly,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to adjust companies than it is for countries to adjust. When you’ve got people starving or social policies within countries that people are used to, it’s hard to adjust those”…
“This is a bump in the road, a correction, an adjustment that we’re going through right now,” Hamm said. People “need to calm down, take the long view and there’s certainly no need to panic at this point or any point.”
This isn’t the only blow to Hamm’s personal fortune this year. In November, the oil tycoon was ordered to pay is ex-wife Sue Ann nearly $US1 billion after ending a 26-year marriage.