Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 190 Autry Stephens $9.62B

Random fact: First job was with Humble Oil, now part of Exxon.


Stephens is the founder and owner of Endeavor Energy Resources, the largest closely held oil producer in Texas. The Midland-based company has drilling rights on more than 350,000 acres in the Permian Basin. Endeavor has one of the last major land holdings in the Permian region to remain in private hands.

As of :
Last change No change
YTD change -$776M ( -7.5%)
Industry Energy
Biggest asset Endeavor Energy Resources
Citizenship United States
Age 82
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Autry Stephens's net worth of $9.62B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Stephens's net worth is derived from his ownership of Endeavor Energy Resources, a Midland, Texas-based exploration and production company. His immediate family are the sole owners of the company, according to Endeavor's CFO Damon Button. Endeavor is the largest closely held oil producer in Texas by 2018 production volume, according to Railroad Commission of Texas website.

The company's main asset is 376,000 net acres in the Midland Basin, a subset of the Permian Basin. These holdings are valued based on the average price-per-acre of three transactions of similar assets in the Permian Basin's Midland basin in 2019 and 2018. Endeavor's total debt of $1 billion, according to Button, has been deducted from the value and a five percent liquidity discount has been applied.

Royal Dutch Shell was reported to be in negotiations to acquire Endeavor for $8 billion in December 2018. That price doesn't include a large portion of Endeavor's mineral rights, which Stephens was said to seek to retain.

Stephens declined to comment on his net worth.


Birthdate: 1/1/1938
Family: Unknown, No children
Education: University of Texas System/The, University of Texas System/The

Autry Stephens was born in 1938 in central Texas. He was raised on his family's watermelon and peanut farm in DeLeon, a small town 90 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

The chance of working in exotic locales, like Indonesia or Venezuela, lured him to the oil industry, according to a profile on the University of Texas at Austin website. So when he enrolled at UT he chose to study petroleum engineering. After graduating, Stephens worked for Humble Oil, which became part of Exxon Mobil, followed by stints with the Army Corps of Engineers and a local Midland bank. It was there that he decided to strike out on his own, inspired by the entrepreneur clients he met.

Over the following decades, he transitioned from an engineer-for-hire with little to his name to an oil tycoon, buying up drilling rights and branching into various ancillary businesses such as trucking, well services and roustabout construction. He poured profits from drilling wells back into the business and used them to buy more land.

Stephens had an unexpected brush with fame as a reality star in the truTV documentary series “Black Gold,” made by the producer of “Deadliest Catch.” The billionaire was a key figure in the plot of Season 2, which centered on workers on one of his rigs racing to finish four wells in 50 days.

His company owns 376,000 net acres in the shale-rich Midland Basin according to a November 2019 Moody's report, making it one of the region's last major land positions in private hands.

  • 1938 Autry Stephens is born in DeLeon, Texas.
  • 1962 Graduates from University of Texas-Austin with a petroleum engineering degree.
  • 1979 Leaves job as an appraisal engineer at a Midland bank to work for himself.
  • 1996 Forms Big Dog Drilling company, his first foray into oil exploration.
  • 2008 Forced to shut down all but a few rigs in fallout from financial crisis.
  • 2009 Has a role in truTV reality television show, "Black Gold."
  • 2018 Chevron, Exxon among rumored bidders for Endeavor Energy.