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Telling Fortunes

No. 8: Ray L. Hunt

Age: 70Home: DallasNet Worth: $5.6 billion

 One of H. L. Hunt’s fourteen kids, Ray Hunt inherited a wildcatter’s sense of how to make a play from his dad. So while his half brothers Bunker and Herbert were sitting on silver and going bankrupt in the eighties, Ray was growing H. L.’s original company, Hunt Oil. And now he’s a twenty-first-century global wildcatter, with huge holdings in places like Yemen and Peru. Closer to home, he missed out on the Barnett Shale but not the Eagle Ford; in 2011 he sold one third of Hunt Oil’s stake in the South Texas shale play for $1.3 billion. He occasionally makes the wrong kind of headlines, as in 2007, when he inked a deal with the regional Kurdish government to look for oil in northern Iraq. Iraqi Arabs were incensed that the Kurds were trying to shut them out, the State Department expressed annoyance that the agreement might undermine the fragile Iraqi government, and Bush critics accused Hunt—a longtime Bush family friend who’d recently given Southern Methodist University $35 million to purchase land for a presidential library and museum—of working a sweetheart deal. No matter. Earlier this year, Hunt Oil hit it big in Kurdistan and the Bush library and museum opened to great fanfare in University Park. 

 

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