Robert A. Hefner III
Fun Fact: As the American Oil & Gas Historical Society chronicles, Hefner III drilled to world-record depths and pressures at depths exceeding 31,000 feet - deep enough for his well to encounter liquid sulfer. His record wasn't broken in the United States until three decades later (2004).
Robert A. Hefner III is founder and owner of The GHK Company, a private oil and natural gas firm located in Oklahoma City. Before playing football at Harvard’s military school in Los Angeles, he attended The Webb School in Claremont, California where he would later establish a science endowment in honor of his mentor Ray Alf. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in geology in 1957, Hefner founded GHK in 1959. Hefner and GHK are well known for pioneering deep natural gas exploration in western Oklahoma, and Hefner remains active in oil and gas throughout Oklahoma and Texas. Hefner has testified before Congress, counseled world leaders, and advised presidents on energy policy. He was a founding contributor to the University of Oklahoma Energy Center and is chairman emeritus of Ballet Oklahoma. He has received the Forbes Business in the Arts Award and the Energy Advocate of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award. His book, The Grand Energy Transition, which discusses the transition to sustainable energy, was published in 2009. Hefner is a member of the International Council at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a director of the Clean Skies Foundation, and a member of Singapore’s International Advisory Panel on Energy. Hefner and his wife, MeiLi, have a passion for contemporary Chinese art, represented by their world-renowned Hefner Collection. In 2005, the Hefners established the Hefner Initiative, which has funded trips to China for outstanding students from Oklahoma. The Hefner Foundation promotes global stability by developing the United States’ relationship with China.
Hefner was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Explorers' Club of New York in 2011.