Section Image: Jennifer Engel and the three men from Four Sevens Oil on the stage at the 2024 Global Energy Symposium

Ralph Lowe Energy Institute’s Global Energy Symposium Links Legacy and Opportunity

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm and the Four Sevens Oil Co. founders headlined the annual symposium that highlighted the many ways innovation is helping reimagine the business of energy.

March 26, 2024

Hunter Enis ’59, MA ’63 recently shared a piece of advice with TCU students: “It’s never too late.”

The Four Sevens Oil Co. founder, former NFL player and coach, and distinguished alumnus spoke at the 2024 TCU Global Energy Symposium hosted by the Ralph Lowe Energy Institute. Enis and his partners at Four Sevens talked to industry executives, thought leaders, TCU professors and students about innovation and entrepreneurship in a packed room at the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Events Center on the TCU campus. As they were finishing up, Enis stopped to address the graduate and undergraduate students in the room directly.

Global Energy Symposium speaker panel

“I did not get into energy until I was 39,” Enis said. “It’s never too late.”

Getting into energy does not encompass the scope of what Enis and his partners at Four Sevens ― Larry Brogdon ’72, Brad Cunningham ’89 and the late Dick Lowe ’51 ― did. They brought horizontal drilling of the Barnett Shale to the urban environment that is Fort Worth. It was risky and innovative and ultimately changed the university, the community and the world.

Speaker at podium with panel members in the background

What stood out during the annual symposium, which featured 27 speakers from across the energy space, was the link between legacy and opportunity. The people who ultimately changed the world of energy started by saying yes and building on what existed to face tomorrow’s energy challenges. The same innovative spirit will be needed from the next generation of leaders in the business of energy, said Cunningham.

“Our theme for this year has been ‘Reimagining the Business of Energy,’” said Ann Bluntzer, executive director of the Ralph Lowe Energy Institute (RLEI) and TCU Neeley School of Business professor. “A strength of TCU in approaching energy challenges is the RLEI’s ability to bring together disciplines, including business, environmental science and engineering, to find solutions.”

President Pullin with his Frog Up.

The challenges facing the industry are not going away and they are changing daily. Veriten CEO Maynard Holt, who spoke at the symposium live from CERAWeek in Houston, described one of the underreported impacts of the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI): the amount of power required to drive AI.

It’s as if “...we are remodeling our house, and in the middle of the remodel we have five kids,” Holt said. “Figuring out power is figuring out your competitiveness. States that figure out their power gain business, and those that don’t lose it.”

Challenges discussed during the daylong symposium, which is part of the Kenneth W. Davis Jr. Leaders in Energy Speaker Series, included methods to best generate more power, how to predict and prevent methane emissions, ways to best provide clean and reliable energy in the Pacific Islands, and how to craft energy policy that powers today, while also building for tomorrow.

Harold Hamm and Ann Bluntzer

The solutions offered were varied, diverse and, in many cases, yet to be discovered. Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm spoke about the link between legacy and opportunity. He turned a grassroots startup into the largest privately-held oil company and knows what is required to create both energy independence and innovation.

“The best energy solutions will be those that make money,” Hamm said.

The opportunities are out there and, as Enis made clear, it’s not too late.