Clint Murchison Sr., born in 1895, was the son of a banker, John Weldon Murchison, owner of the First National Bank of Athens, Texas. Murchison’s instinctive mastery of banking and lending practices translated easily into an understanding of the new business of oil and gas exploration. Murchison is widely credited as the most financially sophisticated of the early oilmen. Murchison was instrumental in the initiation of a number of financial innovations in the oil fields, reportedly including the novel concept of reserve based financing. By 1919, Clint Murchison Sr., at the age of 24, along with his childhood friend Sid Richardson, founder of the Bass family fortune, had both become millionaires trading in oil leases in one of the early Texas boomtowns, Burkburnett, Texas.
Clint Murchison Sr., a new breed of oilmen, put his faith in science and technology. Murchison hired talented geologists, engineers and scientists and began to find oil in significant commercial quantities at a time when other oilmen depended on luck. Through the early 1920s Murchison hit strike after strike. With the expertise of his technical team, he soon added a side business that drilled for other oilmen called “contract drilling.” By 1925 when he turned 30, Murchison’s net worth was estimated to be in excess of $5 million, a fortune in that day and age.
By 1927, Murchison came up with a new concept. Murchison built a pipeline to offer heating and light to local customers. Natural gas had been used to heat homes and factories in England for over a century, but had never caught on in the United States. Murchison sent salesmen fanning out across Texas and soon had contracts to supply a number of cities in Texas. Murchison expanded his operations outside of Texas.
In 1929, Murchison officially merged his far flung gas operations into a single gas pipeline company, Southern Union Gas Company. Murchison would build and finance the pipelines. Through the worst months of the Great Depression, Murchison continued to sign up new customers for Southern Union, and barely 2 years after its founding he was servicing 43 cities in 6 states.
Murchison’s knowledge of banking combined with his understanding of the oil and gas industry in the United States spared him from the hardship of the Great Depression and put the foundation in place for amassing a great family fortune. During his remaining career, Murchison expanded his operations into real estate development, railroads, and banking, but he never abandoned the base he had created in oil and gas exploration and production. He is credited with pioneering the development of the San Juan Basin in the 1950s, one of the most prolific producing hydrocarbon basins in the United States.
John D. Murchison Sr., the eldest son of Clint Sr., attended Hotchkiss and then Yale, leaving school the day after Pearl Harbor to enlist. He became a fighter pilot, flying more than 50 missions over the skies of China, North Africa and Italy.
After World War II, John Sr. followed in his father’s footsteps and began his career as a banker. John Sr. spent the early 1950s under the guidance of his father buying insurance companies and banks. For John Sr., Texas was no longer big enough. Adding to Atlantic Life, a $71 million insurer Clint Sr. had acquired in 1941, John acquired Lamar Life of Mississippi, then Life and Casualty Insurance of Tennessee. John Sr. spearheaded the winning of the largest proxy fight in United States history at that time over control of Alleghany Corporation, which controlled over $5 billion in assets, including IDS, a large Minnesota based insurance company, and the New York Central Railroad, the largest railroad in the United States.
John Sr. had acted as one of the founders of Southwest Airlines, was one of the two founders and co-owners of the Dallas Cowboys Football Franchise, privately held significant oil and gas reserves as well as exceptional real properties. He was also the co-owner of majority stakes in three publicly traded oil and gas companies and the largest home development company in the United States. John Sr. was a pillar of the Dallas community. He was a prominent Board member of the First National Bank of Dallas and a well known philanthropist spearheading the construction of the Dallas Museum of Art.
John Murchison, the current Chairman and CEO of Murchison Oil & Gas, Inc. (the “Company”) also followed in his grandfather and father’s footsteps, beginning his career in banking after completing college. Shortly his father’s untimely death in 1979, John incorporated the Company, capitalizing the new entity with less than $3 million of equity capital. John moved his primary office to the Company in 1980 and has devoted substantially all of his time and attention to the Company since that date.
In 1985, John began an aggressive program of acquisitions for the Company. The two cornerstone acquisitions made for the Company were the San Juan Basin properties owned by the estate of his father and his uncle in 1986 and the “Mesa” leases acquired from “Mesa Petroleum” in 1989. These two cornerstone acquisitions remain in the Company today.
John has retained his grandfather’s emphasis on utilizing science and technology in oil and gas exploration and production. The Company has constantly strived to combine the best personnel available with the efficient use of cutting edge exploration, drilling, completion and production techniques. The Company has established itself as a leading operating entity in its areas of operation. The Company has also established an impeccable reputation for integrity and honesty in its dealings with other companies with which it partners.
The Company has traditionally pursued a conservative financial strategy in a capital intensive industry. John knows that a strong capital structure is an absolute necessity to the preservation of the Company in an industry where product price fluctuations are a constant challenge. The Company has enjoyed over 25 years of after tax profits regardless of the fluctuations in the commodity markets. The success of the Company has allowed it to enjoy an enviable, stable growth rate for over 25 years with the best yet to come. Hard work, an excellent team of geologists, engineers and scientists, diligence and common sense have allowed the Company to not only survive, but prosper through the years.
John D. Murchison III, John’s sole heir, joined the Company in 2011. Like his forefathers, J.D. started his career in banking. Prior to joining the Company, J.D. worked at some of Europe’s most reputable financial institutions. John is excited to have his son and heir as an integral part of the Company. The legacy lives on.
Murchison Oil & Gas, Inc. is a family corporation based on tradition.
The Murchison name has been associated with the exploration and production of oil and gas since the early days of the Texas oil boom.