Harold Hamm

Harold Hamm

Credentials

  • Hamm received honorary degrees from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma, although his formal education ended in high school. [1]

Background

Harold G. Hamm is chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources, an oil company he established in 1967. Hamm is also the co-founder and chairman of the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA).

Forbes reported Harold Hamm and his family's net worth at $18.1 billion as of 7/3/18 while Bloomberg puts him at #55 on its list of the world's 500 richest people. [2], [3], [4]

Hamm has been one of the dominant players behind the Bakken shale rush. “Hamm is the man who bought the Bakken, the shale formation that’s the biggest U.S. oil find since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay in 1968,” Bloomberg wrote in 2012. Continental Resources is the largest leaseholder and one of the largest producers of oil in the Bakken of North Dakota and Montana. [5], [6] [7]

Hamm was reportedly a top pick for energy secretary by then-President-elect Donald Trump, however he turned down the job according to Fox News. In 2012, presidential nominee Mitt Romney had also considered Hamm for the position of energy secretary but ultimately decided against him. [8], [9]

Politico reported Hamm offered Trump advice “in an informal way” during his presidential campaign and that he had played a similar role for Mitt Romney in 2012 where he signed on as an energy adviser as well as donating $985,000 to a super PAC supporting Romney. [10]

Stance on Climate Change

December 2016

At the Platts 2016 Global Energy Outlook Forum, an audience member asked Hamm what industry should do about climate change. Hamm responded by ignoring the fossil fuel industry, and focusing on irrigation: [11]

“You know, I'm an Earth scientist if you will, and I see a lot of things that are done by man that affects the climate.

You know, they have a very serious situation right now going on in you know Central Valley, California. You know, we're not allowing the, you know, the almond growers and you know all the growers within the San Joaquin to use water […] and actually seeing, seeing good fertile, been green forever lands in the Central Valley of California being starved from water and basically going back to the desert. Returning it to the desert. We see the biggest climate changes due to man's action within regard for that type of activity. Expanding deserts, for instance.” [11]

[…]

“We're very tuned in to our footprint and what's happening. It's a wonderful thing that's occurred here. We have two-hundred year supply now of clean, abundant natural gas.” [11]

July 20, 2016

Speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Hamm declared: [12]

“Every time we can't drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded.”

”[…] Climate change isn’t our biggest problem. It's Islamic terrorism.” (Emphasis added)

December 28, 2015

When contacted about its position on climate change in the context of its push to remove the oil export ban, a Continental Resources spokesperson told DeSmog the company “doesn't take an official position on the issue.” [13]

Political Spending

Harold Hamm was a significant donor to Donald Trump's presidential campaign and was reportedly one of seven top donors who had choice seats at Trump's inauguration. Trump has called Hamm “the “king of energy,” and said Hamm has “been amazing right from the beginning” in his assessment of markets, The Washington Post reported. [14], [15]

In 2012, Hamm also advised Mitt Romney and donated $985,000 to Restore Our Future, his super PAC[10]

See below some of Hamm's top recipients from 2000 to 2018, based on data retrieved from the FEC. See the attached spreadsheet for a complete list of Harold Hamm's political recipients, dating back to 1986 (.xlsx)

Committee 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Grand Total
RESTORE OUR FUTURE, INC. $985,000 $985,000
AMERICA FIRST ACTION, INC. $500,000 $500,000
TRUMP VICTORY $449,400 $20,000 $469,400
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE $1,000 $25,000 $30,800 $30,800 $16,400 $15,000 $33,600 $152,600
NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE $2,500 $30,800 $15,000 $24,200 $72,500
NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE $7,400 $5,000 $5,000 $33,900 $51,300
CRAMER VICTORY FUND $50,000 $50,000
TEAM RYAN $29,600 $5,000 $34,600
MCCAIN-PALIN VICTORY 2008 $25,000 $25,000
CONTINENTAL RESOURCES, INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $25,000
DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. $5,400 $5,400 $10,800
RYAN FOR CONGRESS, INC. $5,400 $5,000 $10,400
CRAMER FOR SENATE/CRAMER FOR CONGRESS $2,500 $2,500 $5,400 $10,400
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF LOUISIANA $10,000 $10,000
NY REPUBLICAN FEDERAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE $10,000 $10,000
NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
WYOMING REPUBLICAN PARTY, INC. $10,000 $10,000
DOMESTIC ENERGY PRODUCERS ALLIANCE PAC (DEPA PAC) $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
FAMILIES FOR JAMES LANKFORD $2,500 $0 $5,000 $2,500 $10,000
ALABAMA REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
NORTH DAKOTA REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
REPUBLICAN FEDERAL COMMITTEE OF PENNSYLVANIA $10,000 $10,000
CONNECTICUT REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF ARKANSAS $10,000 $10,000
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA - FEDERAL $10,000 $10,000
KANSAS REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF VIRGINIA INC $10,000 $10,000
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF WISCONSIN $10,000 $10,000
CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY FEDERAL ACCT $10,000 $10,000
FRIENDS OF TODD YOUNG, INC. $10,000 $10,000
NEW JERSEY REPUBLICAN STATE COMMITTEE $10,000 $10,000
MISSOURI REPUBLICAN STATE COMMITTEE-FEDERAL $10,000 $10,000
TENNESSEE REPUBLICAN PARTY FEDERAL ELECTION ACCOUNT $10,000 $10,000
MISSISSIPPI REPUBLICAN PARTY $10,000 $10,000
WEST VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN PARTY, INC. $10,000 $10,000

Key Quotes

November 29, 2013

“Anti-frackers are disingenuous. They bow to the religion of environmentalism,” Hamm said in an interview with NBC News. [16]

December 15, 2016

We've got a President coming in that understands the rule of law, that understands business,” Hamm said at the S&P Global Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum. [17]

[…] “If you don't have strong rule of law, you know, it deteriorates very, very quickly.”

[…]“We had a strong rule of law. We knew what that law was, and we abided by it. And it made us great.” Referring to Barack Obama, Hamm added “All at once, you've got a President that doesn't stand up for the rule of law.”

December 1, 2016

Speaking with Fox News, Hamm declared he would not be pursuing a position in the Trump administration and was happy with his job heading Continental Resources: [9]

“I’m very excited about the fact that we can get back from the brink of extinction and have a future here in America as oil and gas producers,” he said.

One thing is back off on some of the regulations,” he said. “It’s very costly to operate here in America compared to Mexico for sure. So back off on some regulations… a lot of those are punitive in nature… and make it where companies can produce their goods right here in America. And certainly taxes… I think that’ll be job number one as this administration goes forward.”

July 2016

“I’m worried about our country. I’m worried about the direction it’s going,” Hamm said in an interview, quoted by Politico. Hamm criticized Democrats for “choosing to do away with all fossil fuels. That would put us right back into OPEC’s grasp.” He added, “We’re funding Islamic terrorism by buying oil from those countries.” [10]

March 23, 2012

“If you are opposed to the continued use of fossil fuels in the world, then you are not in the position to embrace the modern-day renaissance of oil and natural gas in America,” Hamm wrote at his now-defunct website. [18]

“Since President Obama’s election three and a half years ago, he and his administration have done everything in their power to stop fossil fuel usage, including a carbon tax, increased federal regulations, delays in federal permitting, infrastructure permitting denials for the Keystone XL Pipeline, capital starvation for drilling by the elimination of intangible drilling costs, and depletion allowance. […] At the same time, there are billions of dollars in subsidies being given to solar, wind and all other alternative sources of energy.”

”[…] The Keystone XL Pipeline and others need approval now, not continued delays. Producers need regulatory stability, not threats and lawsuits by the Department of Justice, nor increased regulations from all governmental agencies.”

Key Deeds

April 26, 2018

DeSmog reported Continental Resources, which had $6.5 billion in debt in 2016, took home an extra $700 million in 2017 due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. [19]

“Thanks to the new tax law, Continental took home an extra $700 million because its effective tax rate for 2017 was negative 406 percent,” DeSmog's Justin Mikulka reported. [19]

March 2017

In Congressional testimony where he advocated for lifting the oil export ban, Hamm was asked about likely destinations for U.S. oil exports. [20], [21]

Obviously with our allies, South Korea, people we trade with … Western Europe, South America, Eastern Europe,” Hamm told Congress

What about China?” asked Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-PA)

Canada?” Hamm replies. 

China,” says Goodlatte. 

I don’t see a lot of that trade happening,” Hamm responded. 

At the time, DeSmog noted that China was a likely destination for American oil. Subsequent news commentary also suggested that China was likely to buy a large amount of American oil, and had already started.

DeSmog debunked another of Hamm's arguments: that American allies like South Korea were “forced to buy” oil from Iran because they couldn’t buy American oil. “The reality is that multinational companies with foreign ownership are fracking for crude oil in the United States and now can sell it to the highest bidder on the global market — which often will be China,” DeSmog noted. [22]

September 2016

DeSmog reported oil from Harold Hamm's Continental Resources would flow through the contested Dakota Access pipeline. Hamm was also an outspoken supporter of TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline, which he supported through the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, a lobbying group he founded. After construction on Keystone was delayed for years, Hamm shifted focus. “We’re supporting other pipelines out there, we’re not waiting on Keystone. Nobody is,” Hamm told Politico in November 2014. [23]

December 16, 2015

A DeSmog investigation found that Harold Hamm's Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA) led a successful public relations and lobbying campaign for lifting the crude oil export ban. [13]

The campaign, called “Miracle of American Oil,” pushed Congress and the White House to lift the oil exports ban. A document published by the Public Relations Society of America, discovered by DeSmog, revealed the oil industry courted mainstream media reporters to promote lifting the ban on crude oil exports to the American public and policymakers. [13]

The Miracle of American Oil Summary

Image Credit: Public Relations Society of America

The campaign, launched on December 16, 2013, won the PRSA Silver Anvil Award. According to documents submitted to PRSA regarding the campaign, it was “designed to influence public policy and/or affect legislation, regulations, political activities or candidacies — at the local, state or federal government levels.” [13]

The document also noted that Continental made an effort to move away from the term “fracking” and instead opt for the term “horizontal drilling”: [13]

The PR team’s objectives to showcase the benefits of America’s oil and natural gas renaissance, change the vernacular from fracking to horizontal drilling, and launch crude oil exports to the top of the U.S. policy agenda were all achieved,” explained Continental in the document (emphasis added). 

May 15, 2015

Bloomberg reported Hamm had requested the dismissal of a number of earthquake researchers at the University of Oklahoma Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy. The scientists were studying the links between oil and gas activity and the significant increase in earthquakes in the state. Hamm was a major donor to the university. [24]

He disputed the idea that he had tried to pressure the survey's scientists:

“I'm very approachable, and don't think I'm intimidating,” Hamm was quoted as saying in an interview with EnergyWire on May 11, “I don't try to push anybody around.” [25]

However, a July 16, 2014 email by Larry Grillot, the dean of the university's Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, described Hamm as “very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS staff dismissed.” [24]

In an email from Hamm directed to Grillot, Hamm also expressed interest in sitting on a search committee. [24]

Hamm later filed a defamation suit against Oklahoma City oilman Mickey Thompson after Thompson wrote a post on his personal Facebook page that was critical of ham and accused him of trying to “squelch” science examining links between Oklahoma’s energy industry and earthquakes. [26]

January 30, 2014

Hamm testified at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing where he called for an end to the oil exports ban. “Americans and consumers of all nations would benefit from the immediate lifting of restrictions that inhibit the export of crude oil produced in the U.S.” Hamm's statement read. [27]

September 21, 2012

A Reuters investigation revealed Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA), the lobbying group founded by Hamm, had made a successful lobbying push to have a $140 million extension, or spur, to the TransCanada pipeline. [28]

While Continental Resources had formerly opposed Keystone, fearing an influx of cheap Canadian oil, Hamm reversed course after approval of the extension which stood to benefit Continental by as much as $200 million per year. [28]

March 21, 2012

Hamm wrote an Op-Ed in Forbes where he “Lays Out His Vision For Energy Independence.” [29]

“If you are opposed to the continued use of fossil fuels in the world, then you are not in the position to embrace the modern-day renaissance of oil and natural gas in America,” Hamm began, before launching into an extended criticism of President Obama's energy policies. [29]

“He and his administration have done everything in their power to stop fossil fuel usage, including a carbon tax, increased federal regulations, delays in federal permitting, infrastructure permitting denials for the Keystone XL Pipeline, capital starvation for drilling by the elimination of intangible drilling costs, and depletion allowance,” Hamm wrote. “All of these actions are designed to result in higher costs at the pump for the consumer. At the same time, there are billions of dollars in subsidies being given to solar, wind and all other alternative sources of energy.” [29]

In conclusion, Hamm called for the quick approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. “Energy independence cannot be realized without new crude oil pipelines, other infrastructure,” he wrote. [29]

2011

Continental Resources was one of seven oil companies facing criminal misdemeanor charges brought by the U.S. attorney in North Dakota for failing to prevent migratory birds from dying in the company's waste ponds. The companies faced maximum fines of $15,000 per bird. Rather than settle the case, Hamm fought the charges in court. [14]

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland, a President George W. Bush appointee, dismissed the government's case in 2012 concluding that oil drilling was a “legal, commercially-useful activity.” Criminal “taking” charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act should only be directed at hunters and poachers, he said. [14], [30]

Hamm described the charges as “patently wrong” and praised Hovland's ruling as “a great victory for common sense.” [31]

Affiliations

  • Mitt Romney Energy advisor (2012). [29]
  • Save Domestic Oil, Inc. — Formed by Hamm in 1999 following a sharp drop of oil prices. [28]
  • Continental Resources  Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board. [2]
  • Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA— Chairman. [2]
  • Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association — Board member and past chairman. [2]
  • Oklahoma Energy Resources Board — Founding member. [2]
  • National Stripper Well Association — Past president. [2]
  • Save Domestic Oil Inc. — Founder and former chairman. [2]
  • Hiland Partners Former Chairman. [2]

Social Media

Harold Hamm does not appear active on social media.

Publications

Resources

  1. Harold Hamm, the enemy of Oklahoma’s public educational funding fight,” The Black Wall Street Times, April 2, 2018. Archived July 4, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/clTaT

  2. Harold G. HAMM,” Continental Resources. Archived July 3, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/jjIAf

  3. Harold Hamm & family,” Forbes, July 3, 2018. Archived July 4, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/kzxVC

  4. #55 Harold Hamm,” Bloomberg, July 5, 2018. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.fo/ISj2K

  5. Josh Harkinson. “Who Fracked Mitt Romney?Mother Jones, November/December 2012. Archived July 3, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/NoEDD

  6. The Man Who Bought North Dakota,” Bloomberg, January 19, 2012. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/hYM0l

  7. About Us,” Continental Resources. Archived July 4, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/SvHRI

  8. Oil mogul Hamm tops Trump list for U.S. energy secretary: sources,” Reuters, November 14, 2016. Archived July 4, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/rxkVa

  9. This Oil Tycoon is Not Considering a Job in Trump’s Cabinet,” Fox News, December 1, 2016. Archived July 4, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/t3ROx

  10. Trump's energy whisperer,” Politico, July 2, 2016. Archived July 4, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/Fu1Vd

  11. “Platts 2016 Global Energy Outlook Forum - Opening Remarks and morning keynote,” YouTube video uploaded by user “S&P Global Platts,” December 30, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  12. Harold Hamm Speech at Republican National Convention. July 20, 2016. RNC 2016. Cleveland, Ohio,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Association V.A.A., July 20, 2016. Archived. mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  13. 'Miracle of American Oil': Continental Resources Courted Corporate Media to Sell Oil Exports,” DeSmog, December 28, 2015.

  14. Steven Mufson. “How a North Dakota oil billionaire is helping shape Trump’s views on energy,” The Washington Post, June 6, 2016. Archived July 4, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/bxQPV

  15. SPOT THE BILLIONAIRES GIVEN SPECIAL SEATS ON DONALD TRUMP’S INAUGURAL PLATFORM,” The Intercept, January 21, 2017. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/WmLHj

  16.  Tony Dokoupil. “Meet Harold Hamm, the billionaire behind America's 'great renaissance of oil',” NBC News, November 29, 2013. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/qFBAV

  17. Sharon Kelly. “Amid Concerns About Trump's Authoritarian Bent, Oil Executive Calls for 'Strong Rule of Law',” DeSmog, December 15, 2016.

  18. MY VISION FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE,” Haroldhammonline.com, March 23, 2012. Archived April 16, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/43aSz

  19. GOP Tax Law Bails Out Fracking Companies Buried in Debt,” DeSmog, April 26, 2018.

  20. Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm talks about China,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Justin Mikulka,” March 1, 2017.

  21. Justin Mikulka. “Claims Used to Overturn the Crude Oil Export Ban Are Turning Out False,” DeSmog, March 2, 2017.

  22. Top Three Myths Used to Sell the Lifting of the Crude Oil Export Ban, A Climate and Security Disaster In The Making,” DeSmog, December 15, 2015.

  23. Darren Goode. “GOP oil titan: Keystone's irrelevant,” Politico, November 14, 2014. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/FqziK

  24. U.S. Pulls Trigger on China Tariffs, Sparking Vow of Retaliation,” Bloomberg, July 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/2Cx9X

  25. Hamm says he wasn't pressuring Okla. scientist, but seeking information,” E&E News, May 11, 2015. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/XIRx5

  26. Harold Hamm sues oilman for defamation over Facebook post,” NewsOK, June 29, 2015. Archived August 6 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/mgsvH

  27. “Statement by Harold Hamm Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Continental Resources, Inc.” (PDF), January 30, 2014. Retrieved from U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.

  28. Special Report: How Romney energy czar fuels business with politics,” Reuters, September 21, 2012. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/wxnKv

  29. Romney's Billionaire Energy Advisor Lays Out His Vision For Energy Independence,” Forbes, March 21, 2012. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/8Qctc

  30. Federal Court Holds That the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Apply to Lawful Activities That Result in the Incidental Taking of Protected Birds,” Stoel Rives LLP, January 30, 2012. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.fo/rk84q

  31. Federal judge: Bird law doesn't apply to oil pits,” The Dickinson Press, January 18, 2012. Archived July 5, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.fo/tRFXN

Other Resources