big money

17 Houstonians cash in on Forbes' 2021 list of world's billionaires

Nancy and Richard Kinder are the richest residents of Houston. Photo by Michelle Watson/Catchlight Group

Houston's unofficial benefactor, Richard Kinder, is officially the richest person in the Bayou City, according to Forbes 2021 list of the world's billionaires. Sixteen other uber-wealthy Houston-area residents join Kinder on that list.

But that's not the biggest news, statewide: Eclectic entrepreneur Elon Musk has officially knocked Walmart heiress Alice Walton of Fort Worth off her longtime perch as the richest person in Texas.

On April 6, Forbes released its 2021 list. Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, landed at No. 2 globally with a net worth of $151 billion. He sat at No. 31 in last year's ranking. Forbes lists Musk's place of residence as Austin, although he hasn't confirmed where in Texas he settled last year.

Now at No. 2 in Texas is Walton, whose net worth is $61.8 billion. That puts her at No. 17 on the global list.

Walton is the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton; as of December 2020, the Walton family still reigned as the richest family in the U.S., with Alice Walton's wealth accounting for a little over one-fourth of the family fortune.

The only other Texan who comes close to Musk and Walton in the Forbes ranking is Michael Dell. The chairman and CEO of Round Rock-based Dell Technologies boasts a net worth of $45.1 billion. That places him at No. 30 on the global list and No. 3 in Texas.

In all, the Forbes list features 64 Texas billionaires collectively worth $460.1 billion. (What pandemic?) Among the state's metro areas, Dallas-Fort Worth leads with 27 billionaires, followed by Houston (17), Austin (10), and San Antonio (three).

What follows is a breakdown of Texas billionaires in other cities, including their global ranking, source of wealth, and estimated net worth.

Houston:

  • Richard Kinder, pipelines, No. 369, $7 billion
  • Dannine Avara, pipelines, No. 451, $6 billion
  • Robert Brockman, software, No. 451, $6 billion
  • Scott Duncan, pipelines, No. 451, $6 billion
  • Milane Frantz, pipelines, No. 451, $6 billion
  • Randa Duncan Williams, pipelines, No. 451, $6 billion
  • Tilman Fertitta, Houston Rockets owner/food/entertainment, No. 622, $4.6 billion
  • Dan Friedkin, Toyota dealerships, No. 705, $4.1 billion
  • Janice McNair, Houston Texans owner and energy, No. 705, $4.1 billion
  • John Arnold, hedge funds, No. 925, $3.3 billion
  • Jeffery Hildebrand, oil, No. 1,580, $2 billion
  • Leslie Alexander, former Houston Rockets owner, No. 1,750, $1.8 billion
  • Fayez Sarofim, money management, No. 2,035, $1.5 billion
  • Jim Crane, Houston Astros owner and logistics, No. 2,141, $1.4 billion
  • Wilbur "Ed" Bosarge Jr., high-speed trading, No. 2,674, $1 billion

Two billionaires in the Houston suburbs also show up on the list:

  • Leo Koguan of Sugar Land, information technology services, No. 1,444, $2.2 billion
  • George Bishop of The Woodlands, oil and gas, No. 1,517, $2.1 billion

Fort Worth

  • Robert Bass, oil and investments, No. 550, $5.1 billion
  • David Bonderman, private equity, No. 705, $4.1 billion
  • Sid Bass, oil and investments, No. 1,064 $2.9 billion
  • Donald Horton, homebuilding, No. 1,299, $2.4 billion
  • Edward Bass, oil and investments, No. 1,444, $2.2 billion
  • Lee Bass, oil and investments, No. 1,664, $1.9 billion
  • John Goff, real estate, No. 2,263, $1.3 billion

Mark and Robyn Jones of Westlake, who derive their wealth from the insurance industry, appear at No. 1,249 on the Forbes list with an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion.

Dallas:

  • Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner, No. 264, $8.9 billion
  • Andy Beal, banking and real estate, No. 311, $7.9 billion
  • Mark Cuban, online media and Dallas Mavericks owner, No. 655, $4.4 billion
  • Ray Lee Hunt, oil and real estate, No. 680, $4.2 billion
  • Margot Birmingham Perot, technology and real estate, No. 705, $4.1 billion
  • Trevor Rees-Jones, oil and gas, No. 727, $4 billion
  • Robert Rowling, Omni Hotels and Gold's Gym, No. 752, $3.9 billion
  • Kelcy Warren, pipelines, No. 891, $3.4 billion
  • H. Ross Perot Jr., real estate, No. 1,174, $2.7 billion
  • Gerald Ford, banking, No. 1,249, $2.5 billion
  • Ray Davis, pipelines, No. 1,517, $2.1 billion
  • W. Herbert Hunt, oil, No. 1,580, $2 billion
  • Todd Wagner, online media, No. 1,664, $1.9 billion
  • Stephen Winn, real estate services, No. 1,664, $1.9 billion
  • Kenny Troutt, telecom, No. 2,035, $1.5 billion
  • Darwin Deason, software, No. 2,141, $1.4 billion
  • Timothy Headington, oil and gas/investments, No. 2,141, $1.4 billion
  • A. Jayson Adair, car salvage business, No. 2,674, $1 billion

Austin:

  • Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX, No. 2, $151 billion
  • Michael Dell, technology, No. 30, $45.1 billion
  • Robert F. Smith, private equity, No. 451, $6 billion
  • Bert "Tito" Beveridge, vodka, No. 622, $4.6 billion
  • Thai Lee, information technology, No. 956, $3.2 billion
  • Joe Liemandt, software, No. 1,008, $3 billion
  • John Paul DeJoria, hair care and tequila, No. 1,174, $2.7 billion
  • Jim Breyer, venture capital, No. 1,249, $2.5 billion
  • David Booth, mutual funds, No. 1,750, $1.8 billion
  • Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble dating app, No. 2,263, $1.3 billion

San Antonio:

  • Christopher "Kit" Goldsbury, salsa and private equity, No. 1,833, $1.7 billion
  • James Leininger, medical products, No. 2,035, $1.5 billion
  • Red McCombs, real estate/oil/car dealerships/sports/radio, No. 2,035, $1.5 billion
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Irving-based ExxonMobil has announced the Houston Ship Channel will be the site of an "innovation zone" for carbon capture and storage. Photo via Business Wire

In a move that would be a gamechanger for Houston, oil and gas giant ExxonMobil envisions creating a $100 billion carbon-capture hub along the Houston Ship Channel.

ExxonMobil foresees the Houston Ship Channel being the site of an "innovation zone" for carbon capture and storage. In a blog post on the ExxonMobil website, Joe Blommaert, the Houston-based president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, says Houston would be "the perfect place" for the project because:

  • The ship channel is home to dozens of refineries and petrochemical plants.
  • The geological formations in the Gulf of Mexico could "safely, securely, and permanently" store tons of carbon emissions under the sea floor, according to the blog post. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the storage capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast could handle 500 million metric tons of CO2.

Irving-based ExxonMobil, which employs more than 12,000 people in the Houston area, says the project could capture and store about 50 million metric tons of CO2 annually by 2030. By 2040, that number could rise to 100 million metric tons.

"We could create an economy of scale where we can reduce the cost of the carbon dioxide mitigation, create jobs, and reduce the emissions," Blommaert tells the Reuters news service.

In a news release, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner applauds the ExxonMobil plan.

"This proposal by ExxonMobil is the type of bold ambition and investment we will need to meet our climate goals and protect our communities from climate change," Turner says. "ExxonMobil's proposal represents a significant step forward for the energy industry, and I hope it brings more companies to the table to help Houston lead a global energy transition."

Turner notes that the Houston area is home to some of the largest emitters of carbon in the U.S., adding that everyone has "a responsibility and role to play in decarbonization."

Blommaert says the project would require public and private funding, along with "enhanced regulatory and legal frameworks that enable investment and innovation." According to Politico, ExxonMobil wants the federal government to kick in tax breaks or to set carbon-pricing policies to help get the project off the ground.

Politico reports that the Biden administration isn't considering ExxonMobil's idea as it prepares a climate-change package.

"Meanwhile, environmental groups and many Democrats have slammed carbon-capture proposals as a climate strategy, saying the only way to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution is a wholesale switch away from fossil fuels," Politico says.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency maintains that carbon capture and storage "are critical for putting energy systems around the world on a sustainable path." Achieving net-zero goals "will be virtually impossible" without carbon capture and storage, the group says.

ExxonMobil announced creation of its Low Carbon Solutions business unit in February as part of its push to invest $3 billion in lower-emission energy initiatives through 2025. Low Carbon Solutions initially will focus on technology for carbon capture and storage. The business unit is exploring opportunities along the Gulf Coast, as well as in Wyoming, Belgium, the Netherlands, Qatar, Scotland, and Singapore.

Last year, ExxonMobil hit the pause button on a $260 million carbon-capture project in Wyoming due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Bloomberg news service.

In a December report, the Global CCS Institute, a think tank, said 65 commercial carbon-capture projects were in various stages of development around the world.

"Climate ambition, including efforts to decarbonize industry, has not been curtailed despite the adversities faced in 2020," Brad Page, CEO of the institute, says in a news release about the report. "We're continuing to see an upward trajectory in the amount of CO2 capture and storage infrastructure that is being developed. One of the largest factors driving this growth is recognition that achieving net-zero emissions is urgent yet unattainable without CO2 reductions from energy-intensive sectors."

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