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# 54 Leonid Mikhelson $25.9B

Random fact: Sold his car to buy first stake in a pipeline construction company.


Mikhelson is the chief executive officer of Novatek, the largest non-state-owned natural gas provider in Russia. The billionaire owns about one quarter of the publicly traded company, which produces about 10% of the country's gas. He also holds a 30.6% stake in closely held petrochemical producer Sibur.

As of :
Last change +$78.1M ( +0.3%)
YTD change +$1.29B ( +5.3%)
Biggest asset NVTK RX Equity
Country / Region Russian Federation
Age 67
Industry Energy
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Leonid Mikhelson's net worth of $25.9B 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

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Mikhelson's fortune is derived from a 25% stake in Novatek, according to the company's March 21, 2022 disclosure document. He holds most of his stake directly and through two holding companies: Russia-based Optima and Levit. Novatek is Russia's largest non-state-owned natural gas company and produces 10% of the country's gas, according to its website.

In 2010 and 2011, he bought a controlling stake in closely held petrochemical company Sibur from Gazprombank, which is affiliated with Russia's state-controlled gas producer, Gazprom. He continues to hold a 30.6% stake in the company, according to its website. It's valued using reported financial results for the 12 months to Sept. 30, 2021 and the average enterprise value-to-Ebitda of two publicly traded peer companies: LyondellBasell Industries and Saudi Basic Industries. The analysis applies a 10% discount to reflect western sanctions.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, taxes and market performance.


Family: Married, 2 children

Leonid Mikhelson was born in the southern Russian city of Kaspiisk in 1955. After graduating from the Kuybyshev Engineering and Construction Institute in 1977, he worked as a foreman. In 1985, he became chief engineer of Ryazantruboprovodstroy trust, a gas pipeline constructing company that was privatized in the post-Soviet government asset sales program in the early 1990s and renamed Nova. Two years later, Mikhelson was named head of the trust.

He established the investment company Novafininvest to pursue oil and gas exploration in 1994. It was the predecessor to today's Novatek, Russia's biggest non-state gas producer, second only to Gazprom in terms of production volume. The company was renamed Novatek in 2003, and Mikhelson continued as its CEO.

Novatek's management sold 17.3 percent of the company on the London Stock Exchange, raising $879 million in 2005. Mikhelson owned almost 7 percent of the business and collected more than $300 million and, a year later, state-controlled Gazprom bought 19.4 percent of Novatek from him and his partners for more than $2.3 billion.

He remains Novatek's largest shareholder, with a 25 percent stake in the company. Fellow billionaire Gennady Timchenko, who began buying Novatek shares in 2008, controls about 23%. French oil company Total owns 19.4%.

Mikhelson's Dellawood Holdings bought Sibur, Eastern Europe's biggest petrochemical producer, from Gazprombank, a bank affiliated with the natural gas company Gazprom. He bought an initial 25% stake from the bank in December 2010 and another 25% in March 2011. Cyprus-based Dellawood boosted its Sibur holding to 100% in November 2011. Dellawood was renamed Sibur Ltd., and for the first time disclosed that its shareholders also included Timchenko and former Sibur managers.

Today Mikhelson holds 30.6% and Timchenko has 14.5%. Mikhelson became chairman of Sibur's board of directors in 2011.

  • 1977 Graduates from Kuybyshev Engineering Institute.
  • 1985 Joins construction group Ryazantruboprovodstroy as engineer.
  • 1994 Founds and heads Novafininvest to explore for oil and gas.
  • 2003 Novafininvest renamed Novatek; Mikhelson continues as CEO.
  • 2005 Novatek sells 17.3 percent of stock on the LSE for $879 million.
  • 2006 Gazprom purchases 19.4 percent stake in Novatek.
  • 2009 Establishes Victoria, the Art of Being Contemporary foundation.
  • 2011 Secures control of Sibur, Russia's largest petrochemical firm.
  • 2014 Novatek sanctioned by the U.S Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).