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Billionaire Bets on Old-School Energy in $3 Billion Conoco Deal

  • Hilcorp strategy turns on aging fields, conventional drilling
  • CEO Hildebrand known for giving $100,000 worker bonuses
The ConocoPhillips Co refinery is seen in Richmond, California, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. ConocoPhillips Co is expected to announce third-quarter earnings on Oct 26.
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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With a $3 billion purchase from ConocoPhillips, billionaire oilman Jeffrey Hildebrand is once again trying to succeed in a corner of the oil and gas world others are leaving behind.

Hildebrand’s Hilcorp Energy Co. agreed to buy the fields in the San Juan Basin, taking on holdings in the southwestern U.S. that Conoco sees as less appealing given their focus on lower-profit natural gas. For Houston-based Hilcorp, it’s the company’s bread and butter.