Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 492 Autry Stephens $5.22B

Random fact: Named his first exploration business, "Big Dog Drilling Company."


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 +$724M ( +16.1%)
Biggest asset Endeavor Energy Resources
Country / Region United States
Age 84
Industry Energy
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Autry Stephens's net worth of $5.22B 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 production volume, according to data from energy analytics firm Enverus.

The company's main asset is 370,000 net acres in the Midland Basin, a subset of the Permian Basin. These holdings, plus another 200,000 acres outside the Permian, are valued based on the average price per acre of two comparable transactions in late 2021: ConocoPhillips' acquisition of Shell's Midland Basin assets and Callon Energy's acquisition of Primexx's Delaware Basin assets. Endeavor's total debt of $3.475 billion, according to Bloomberg data, has been deducted from the value.

Stephens declined to comment on his net worth.


Birthdate: 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.

  • 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.