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Frederic C. Hamilton ’48, H'98, P'82

Former Chairman of The Hamilton Companies LLC

When Frederic Hamilton left Babson in the late 40s, he could have gone into the family’s natural gas transmission business. Instead he joined the army, served his country, and then took a job with a Texas oil company as a roughneck, a member of an oil-drilling crew.

It wasn’t long before he became addicted to the oil business; and in 1950 he and his brother Ferris went into business for themselves. The Hamilton brothers bought a broken-down 6,000-foot drilling rig for $5,000. The owner, delighted to unload the equipment, carried a $45,000 note and gave the Hamiltons a few drilling contracts to get them started.

From the small one-rig operation has emerged a Denver-based group of 12 affiliated natural resources companies which had combined revenues of over $226.8 million in 1982.

Fred Hamilton has been described as a big game hunter, not content with seeking small sources of gas and oil. “It takes jus as much time to find the big fields as the little ones,” he says, “so why not spend our time looking for the big fields?”

He proved the soundness of this reasoning in 1956. Hamilton theorized that beneath the famous Texas Hugoton gas field were even larger untapped reserves. Where the deepest wells were 3,000 feet, he went to 6,000 and 8,000 and struck a subterranean lode worth millions of dollars.

In 1962 Hamilton took aim at the Edson Field in Canada and added another trophy to his collection-recoverable gas reserves of two trillion cubic feet, the second largest gas field in Canada. He scored again in 1964 when the discovery of Canada’s Nipisi oil field and its reserves in excess of 400 million barrels.

Since that time the company has made major oil and gas discoveries in the North Sea, Oklahoma, the Gulf of Mexico, South America, and the East China Sea. As operations expanded, a public company, Hamilton Brothers Petroleum Corporation, was formed. Operations continue to grow, and the company now employs over 1,250 people in seven countries.