"Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed..." Ok, his name is Jeff but the story still ends with oil, black gold, Texas tea. And first thing you know, ol Jeff's a billionaire. Hilcorp Energy, an oil and natural gas exploration and production company founded in 1989 by Jeffrey Hildebrand, is one of the nation's largest privately held energy companies. It employs the latest technology to extract oil and gas from mature fields, primarily on the Gulf Coast and in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, that have been abandoned by other operators. The company pumps about 25 million barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent annually.
Hilcorp Energy has grown through the acquisition and exploitation of mature but still viable oil and gas fields. Growing its asset base on the Gulf Coast, in 2010 the company bought Penn Virginia Oil & Gas' assets (in Louisiana and Texas) for $38 million. In return Hillcorp sold some of its properties in Mississippi to Penn Virginia Oil & Gas, for $6 million.
Seeking capital to grow its operations and pay down debt, in 2010 the company sold a 40% stake in joint venture Hilcorp Resources to investment firm KKR for $400 million.
In a major move to generate cash, in 2011 Hilcorp Resources sold its assets in the emerging Eagle Ford shale play in south Texas to Marathon Oil for $3.5 billion. In 2012 it also agreed to sell shallow Gulf of Mexico properties to EPL Oil and Gas for $550 million.
A former Exxon Mobil geologist, Hildebrand started the company with former partner Thomas Hook. Billionaire Hildebrand owned the company outright after paying Hook $500 million for his half in 2003. The oilman is one of Houston's richest men.