International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Robert A. Hefner III is founder and owner of The GHK Company, an Oklahoma-based natural gas and oil firm. He pioneered ultradeep natural gas exploration and led the development of innovative technology necessary to successfully drill and produce the world’s deepest and highest pressure natural gas wells. In the 1970s he was the lone proponent to accurately forecast America’s natural gas abundance, and was a leader in the efforts to deregulate natural gas prices. In early 2007 GHK was a first mover in the prolific oil and gas Tonkawa horizontal drilling trend of Oklahoma. Hefner holds a geology degree from the University of Oklahoma, is a member of the International Council at Harvard’s Belfer Center, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, a member of the Singapore International Advisory Panel on Energy, a former Board member of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2010. Hefner’s book on the past, present and future of energy development – The Grand Energy Transition – was published by Wiley & Sons in 2009. The book has subsequently been translated into Chinese, published by CITIC, and is now for sale across China. A documentary based on the book is available gratis at www.The-GET.com.
Since 1985, Hefner has actively pursued his interest in China in the areas of energy, foreign affairs, and contemporary Chinese art, developing the internationally known Hefner Collection (www.hefnercollection.com). Hefner and his wife, MeiLi, founded the Robert and MeiLi Hefner Foundation which currently sponsors educational trips to China and Singapore for outstanding high-school students. The Hefners were the principal donors for the James R. Schlesinger Professorship of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. They have recently moved to a vineyard and winery estate they have named Ramiiisol near Charlottesville, VA.