In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. So said Benjamin Franklin. What he neglected to add was that as sure as eggs are eggs, anyone in possession of an oil field must be in want of a good accountant. Oil is what keeps us mobile, keeps us warm, and keeps adding zero’s to the bank balances of the 1% percent. To find out just how filthy rich oil can make you, stay tuned as we count down the 10 richest oil magnates in the world.
10. George Kaiser – Net Worth: $5.6 Billion
When George Kaiser’s father died of a heart attack in 1969, he took control of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company. At that point, it was a small, privately-owned oil prospecting and drilling company without legs. Over the coming years, Kaiser transformed it – by 2010, it was the 23rd largest private energy exploration company in the U.S, turning over an annual profit of $217 million. Oil isn’t the soul source of his wealth, however. In 1990, he bought the Bank of Oklahoma. At the time of the acquisition, it was a small, 20 branch bank on the verge of bankruptcy. It now has operations in nine states and a value of $23.9 billion. According to Forbes, Kaiser is currently worth $5.6 billion.
9. Alexei Kuzmichev – Net Worth: $8 Billion
Next is Alexei Kuzmichev, a Russian businessman and one of the founders of the Alfa Group Consortium. Alfa is one of Russia’s largest privately-owned investment groups, holding interests in oil and gas, asset management, insurance, retail trade, commercial and investment banking, telecommunications and water utilities. According to Wikipedia, Kuzmichev currently controls 18 percent of Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest closely held bank; 10 percent of VimpelCom, the world’s sixth-biggest mobile phone operator; and 11 percent of X5 Retail Group. Up until 2013, he also owned a stake in energy venture TNK-BP but sold it to the oil company Rosneft for $2.5 billion. He’s now worth $8 billion.
8. Mohammed Al Amoudi: $8.3 Billion
Mohammed Al Amoudi is a Saudi-born oil magnate who converted his first millions from construction into billions when he acquired 70% of the National Oil Company of Ethiopia. He also holds interests in gold mining and real estate. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his net worth as of 2021 is $8.3 billion.
7. Viktor Vekselberg – Net Worth: $10 Billion
It takes a rich person to buy a Faberge egg, but it takes a billionaire to buy nine of them. Art collector, businessman, and oil magnate Viktor Vekselberg is just such a billionaire. After making his first million selling scrap copper, he moved into the oil game when he joined Mikhail Fridman and Len Blavatnik in the oil company TNK-BP. In 2013, he sold his stake in the company to Rosneft for $7 billion. He’s now worth a reported $10 billion.
6. German Khan – Net Worth: $10.1 Billion
Along with fellow billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Alexei Kuzmichev, Ukraine native German Khan controls Alfa Group and LetterOne. In 2003, Alfa Group’s Tyumen Oil company and BP’s Russian assets merged to form TNK-BP, of which Khan serves as the executive director. A shrewd businessman who’s been said to use the Godfather movies as a “manual for life,” he’s currently worth $10.1 billion.
5. Roman Abramovich – Net Worth: $14.5 Billion
After leaving the army, Roman Abramovich started working as a street trader before becoming a mechanic in a factory. He then started selling rubber ducks out of his Moscow apartment before establishing a company selling dolls. Before long, he was trading in timber, sugar, food, oil, pigs, and almost anything else that could turn a buck. In the early 1990s, he met Boris Berezovsky. Utilizing the controversial loans for share program that helped well-connected Russians buy state assets after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the pair acquired a controlling interest in the oil company Sibneft. Since then, Abramovich has turned his hand to the world of sport, art, finance, and investment, and seen his wealth grow to $14.5 billion.
4. Mikhail Fridman – Net Worth: $15.9 Billion
Along with his college buddies German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev, Ukrainian-born Mikhail Fridman controls Alfa Group and LetterOne. The trio have been partners since 1989 when they clubbed together to form the commodities trader Alfa-Eco. These days, they’re all billionaires, with Fridman alone worth a monster $15.9 billion. At least a portion of that comes from the $5.1 billion in cash he pocketed when the three sold oil giant TNK-BP to the state-owned oil company Rosneft.
3. Vagit Alekperov – Net Worth: $24.9 Billion
Vagit Alekperov once said “I have devoted my whole life to work. I have no friends and acquaintances outside my business world.” Before you bring on the violins, it’s worth knowing what that devotion has resulted in – a mammoth net worth of $24.9 billion. Alekperov began his career on a Soviet oil rig before landing the role of Deputy Minister of Oil and Gas under the Soviet government. After that, the only way was up. In 1991, he established Lukoil after acquiring three large ministry-controlled oil fields. Lukoil is now the third-largest company in Russia and its largest independent oil company.
2. Charles And David Koch – Net Worth: $46.4 Billion Each
Why bother making your own money when you can inherit it instead? When Charles And David Koch’s father died, Koch Industries, a multinational corporation that’s involved in the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, and too many other things to list, passed to them and their siblings, William and Frederick. William and Frederick cashed out in 1983, leaving the control of the business, which ranks as the second-largest privately held company in the US, to Charles and David. Lifelong libertarians, they’ve poured millions into political causes over the years, lining the pockets of dozens of free-market Republican candidates in their efforts to keep the Democrats out of the White House. Each is worth the monster sum of $46.4 million.
1. Mukesh Ambani – Net Worth: $84.5 Billion
With a net worth of $84.5 billion, Mukesh Ambani ranks as the richest oil magnate in the world and the richest person in Asia. Like Charles and David Koch, he was a giving a leg up by his father, Dhirubhai Ambani, who, in 1966, founded Reliance Industries, an Indian multinational conglomerate that owns the largest oil refinery in the world. However, Mukesh isn’t some kind of rich playboy heir with more money than sense. Since taking over Reliance, he’s expanded it exponentially. In addition to energy and petrochemicals, it now has interests in retail, gas, telecommunications, mass media, and textiles, among other things. Ranked as the 155th biggest cooperation in the world, it has a market capitalization of $186 billion, making it the largest publicly traded company in India.