Harold Hamm is an American businessman and the founder of Continental Resources, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company. Mr. Hamm, who was raised in rural Oklahoma, started working in the oil fields as a teenager and founded Continental Resources in 1967 when he was just 21 years old. He transformed a small, grassroots startup into a Top 10 oil producer in the U.S. Lower 48 that is now traded on the NYSE. As a spokesperson for the oil and natural gas industry in the United States and as the head of one of the country’s leading E&P companies, he has played a crucial role in achieving energy independence for America.
He was born on December 11, 1945, in Lexington, Oklahoma, and grew up in rural Oklahoma. Hamm, the youngest of 13 children, was born to cotton sharecroppers Jane Elizabeth (née Sparks) and Leland Albert Hamm.
Hamm had three children with his first wife, Judith Ann, before their divorce in 1987. He married Sue Ann Arnall in April 1988, and they had two children together. Sue Ann, who is an economist and lawyer, served as an executive at Continental Resources. In May 2012, she filed for divorce, but Hamm claimed they had separated in 2005.
The media speculated that up to half of Hamm’s estimated $20 billion fortune might go to Sue Ann, which could set a record for the largest divorce settlement ever. Eventually, a judge awarded Sue Ann $1 billion, but she rejected it and asked for a higher amount.
According to CNBC, Sue Ann deposited a $974,790,317.77 settlement check in 2015. Hamm currently resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and has homes in Enid and Nichols Hills, both located in Oklahoma.
Harold Hamm, who has type 2 diabetes, has been honored with degrees from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. The Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma was established with a $10 million donation from the Harold and Sue Ann Hamm Foundation.
He is also a member of the Global Leadership Council at the Offutt School of Business of Concordia College, Moorhead. In 2022, Hamm and Continental Resources donated $12 million to the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota to create the Hamm School of Engineering and establish the “Continental Resources | Monsignor James Shea Chair of Engineering,” which is believed to be the biggest single philanthropic gift to education in the western North Dakota and eastern Montana region.
Hamm’s career in the oil industry began in the late 1960s, when he started working as a truck driver for a local oilfield service company. Over time, he learned the business and eventually started his own company, Continental Resources, in 1967 with a $50,000 loan.
Hamm, a fracking pioneer and founder of Continental Resources, chairs one of the largest independent oil companies in the US. As a child, Hamm worked barefoot in the cotton fields as a child and started working at a gas station at age 16 to help support his family. He eventually established his own trucking company that hauled water to and from oilfields, and in 1971, he took out a loan to drill his first well.
In the 1990s, Hamm introduced horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota’s Bakken region, which transformed the American oil industry. Continental Resources now produces around 400,000 barrels of oil and gas per day, and Hamm, along with his five children, owns over 80% of the company.
Under Hamm’s leadership, Continental Resources grew to become one of the largest independent oil producers in the United States. The company was a pioneer in the development of the Bakken oil field in North Dakota, which became one of the most productive oil fields in the country.
Hamm’s net worth has been estimated at over $14 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world. He has been a major donor to Republican political campaigns and served as an energy advisor to Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.
Hamm has received numerous awards and honors for his business achievements. In 2011, he was named Energy Producer of the Year by the Platts Global Energy Awards. He has also been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the National Petroleum Museum Hall of Fame.
In addition to his business interests, Hamm has been involved in philanthropy, donating millions of dollars to various causes in Oklahoma, including education, healthcare, and the arts.
Mr. Hamm is committed to cultivating the future leaders of the energy industry. He played a role in setting up the Harold Hamm School of Geology and Geological Engineering at the University of North Dakota in 2012. Additionally, he has supported various educational endeavors throughout the country, such as funding college scholarships, providing classroom technology, and contributing to school capital campaigns.
He is currently worth about $27 billion.
Harold Hamm has received numerous awards and recognition for his contributions to the energy industry and philanthropy, including:
Additionally, Hamm has donated millions of dollars to various charitable causes, including education, health care, and disaster relief efforts. He also serves on the board of several organizations, including the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.