Ok­la­homa Ge­o­log­i­cal Foun­da­tion hon­ors three

The Oklahoman - - BUSINESS - BY JACK MONEY Busi­ness Writer jmoney@ok­la­homan.com

Three men in­te­gral to Ok­la­homa’s oil and gas in­dus­try and ge­ol­ogy were hon­ored Thurs­day in Ok­la­homa City.

The Ok­la­homa Ge­o­log­i­cal Foun­da­tion hon­ored T. Howard McCasland, Aubrey K. McClen­don and Robert A. Hefner III at its an­nual Leg­ends Din­ner.

Re­cip­i­ents of the honor are dis­tin­guished Ok­la­homans who have had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on ge­ol­ogy, the en­ergy in­dus­try and the state through both their pro­fes­sional and phil­an­thropic ef­forts. Past hon­orees in­clude Dean A. McGee, John W. Ni­chols, Harold Hamm, Frank But­tram, Lew O. Ward III, Sa­muel Rus­sel No­ble, T. Boone Pick­ens, and many more.

“Our leg­ends hon­orees are peo­ple with Ok­la­homa roots who have im­pacted the geo­sciences pro­fes­sion and have im­pacted the city and the state,” said Mark Lester, a re­tired ge­ol­o­gist who worked for Ch­e­sa­peake En­ergy for 22 years and is a mem­ber of the foun­da­tion’s board of di­rec­tors. The foun­da­tion, Lester said, pays to train and equip Ok­la­homa teach­ers with earth sci­ences ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als and also of­fers schol­ar­ships to univer­sity stu­dents to help them at­tend sum­mer ge­ol­ogy field camps. The foun­da­tion spends about $100,000 a year to sup­port those ef­forts.

“That’s very im­por­tant now,” he said. “And it isn’t just oil and gas. It’s about water and the con­ser­va­tion of all of our other nat­u­ral re­sources.”

Mem­bers of the McCasland and McClen­don fam­i­lies at­tended Thurs­day’s event to re­ceive the awards on the hon­orees’ be­half.

Hefner said Thurs­day at the event that he was hum­bled to be hon­ored along with such other greats in the in­dus­try.

“Be­fore ev­ery­thing else, I am a ge­ol­o­gist,” Hefner said. “That’s why this is such a great honor.”

Hefner said his grand­fa­ther and McCasland knew one an­other and did some deals to­gether.

“And then, of course, Aubrey was a great buddy who re­ally was a spir­i­tual soul mate in many ways, be­cause we thought so much alike,” he said. “He was a won­der­ful man, and we miss him, and it’s great to be hon­ored along­side of him.”

Like the foun­da­tion, Hefner too has a deep pas­sion about shar­ing his love of earth sci­ence.

“I have al­ways thought that ge­ol­ogy should be one of the manda­tory cour­ses in one’s ed­u­ca­tion,” he said. “If you know a lit­tle bit about it, at least, it makes it so much nicer just walk­ing around the earth.

“You can ap­pre­ci­ate it so much more. I love the earth, and I love the en­vi­ron­ment.”

McCasland a Pi­o­neer Leg­end

McCasland, who died in 1979, was hon­ored with the Pi­o­neer Leg­end award.

He was born in a dugout near Dun­can in 1895 and grad­u­ated

from the Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa in 1916. Af­ter serv­ing in the U.S. Army dur­ing World War I, McCasland re­turned to south­ern Ok­la­homa and got in­volved with buy­ing, sell­ing and trad­ing land, leases and min­er­als.

In 1946, he and sev­eral as­so­ci­ates formed Mack Oil Co., which de­vel­oped ex­ten­sive oil and gas pro­duc­tion in Ok­la­homa and Kansas. Mack Oil later added M&M Sup­ply Co., Thomas Drilling, AmQuest Fi­nan­cial Corp., In­vestors Trust Co. and other suc­cess­ful busi­nesses to its fam­ily.

McCasland’s phil­an­thropic ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded ser­vice to var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions and state com­mis­sions. Named Dun­can’s Top Se­nior Cit­i­zen in 1959, McCasland also served as a di­rec­tor of the Ok­la­homa Med­i­cal Re­search Foun­da­tion and the Ok­la­homa Heart As­so­ci­a­tion, and also served the state as a mem­ber of the Ok­la­homa High­way Com­mis­sion and the Ok­la­homa Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion.

He also served OU in var­i­ous ways, in­clud­ing lead­ing the Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa Foun­da­tion’s Board of Trus­tees as its chair­man.

In 1972, he was named out­stand­ing Oil­man of the Year by the Ok­la­homa Pe­tro­leum Coun­cil.

McClen­don a His­tor­i­cal Leg­end

McClen­don, who died in 2016, was hon­ored as a His­tor­i­cal Leg­end by the foun­da­tion.

At age 23, dur­ing the height of Ok­la­homa’s oil bust, he and Tom Ward part­nered up to buy and sell lease­hold. Later, they in­vested $50,000 to start Ch­e­sa­peake En­ergy.

McClen­don and Ward pi­o­neered the shale rev­o­lu­tion in the oil and gas in­dus­try, us­ing 3-D seis­mic and hor­i­zon­tal drilling and com­ple­tion tech­niques to un­lock oil and gas in un­con­ven­tional reser­voirs, and grew Ch­e­sa­peake into a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar com­pany.

McClen­don, who was in­ducted into the Ok­la­homa Hall of Fame in 2007, left Ch­e­sa­peake in 2013 and founded Amer­i­can En­ergy Part­ners within weeks. Based mainly on McClen­don’s rep­u­ta­tion, Amer­i­can En­ergy Part­ners raised bil­lions of dol­lars from in­vestors, and he was busy work­ing to grow that busi­ness when he died in a car ac­ci­dent.

McClen­don’s im­pact on the Ok­la­homa City com­mu­nity through his in­vest­ments in other lo­cal en­ter­prises, his sup­port for non­prof­its and the role he played in help­ing to bring NBA bas­ket­ball to town was as sig­nif­i­cant as the work he did as an oil and gas pro­fes­sional.

He sup­ported the Ok­la­homa River Boathouse District, Duke Univer­sity, the Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa, Casady and Her­itage Hall schools, All Souls Epis­co­pal Church, the Boys & Girls Club, the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica and other groups and or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Hefner a Liv­ing Leg­end

Hefner, the founder and owner of GHK Ex­plo­ration Co. in Ok­la­homa City, re­ceived the Liv­ing Leg­end award. Hefner pi­o­neered the ul­tra-deep nat­u­ral gas ex­plo­ration and helped con­vince Con­gress to dereg­u­late nat­u­ral gas prices, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for in­de­pen­dent com­pa­nies to lead in the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment of the na­tion’s oil and gas re­sources.

Hefner, an OU grad­u­ate, also is an ac­tive phi­lan­thropist who helped Prince­ton Univer­sity pub­lish Al­bert Einstein’s per­sonal pa­pers through fi­nan­cial and moral sup­port and also es­tab­lished two ma­jor en­dow­ments at Webb Schools of Cal­i­for­nia to sup­port cre­ative sci­ence of­fer­ings to its stu­dents.

While do­ing re­search for China’s Min­istry of Pe­tro­leum in 1985, Hefner be­came in­ter­ested in the na­tion’s seem­ingly un­stop­pable tran­si­tion into a mod­ern and dom­i­nant global power, and he be­gan to col­lect paint­ings from Chi­nese artists that ex­pressed that theme.

The Hefner Col­lec­tion in 2017 con­sisted of about 300 pieces that rep­re­sents art of China’s post-cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion pe­riod, and he pub­lished a book in 1997 that fea­tures se­lec­tions from the col­lec­tion.

Hefner also wrote “The Grand En­ergy Tran­si­tion,” which was pub­lished in 2009.

Aubrey K. McClen­don

T. Howard McCasland

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