Chris Wright

Liberty Energy

Editor's note: This profile is part of Hart Energy's 50th anniversary Hall of Fame series honoring industry pioneers of the past 50 years and the Agents of Change (ACEs) who are leading the energy sector into the future.

Chris Wright

Chris Wright was 15 when he decided he wanted to jump headfirst into the energy industry.

He saw energy as a means to address the issue of poverty and realized that access to energy is crucial for improving the quality of life for individuals and societies.

“I was 12 years old and saw a homeless person on the street in downtown Denver and I didn’t know anything about substance abuse or mental illness, but I just couldn’t believe there was someone without a roof over his head, food to eat,” Wright told Hart Energy. “So, that has been a lifelong obsession or focus with me and in my youthful studies of what changes people’s lives. Energy’s just central in that role. You’ve got poor societies or poor people—they just have less access to energy and therefore lower qualities of life.”

Wright decided he wanted to do something about it and settled on a career in the energy industry at age 15 after hearing that the world was “running out of oil, gas and coal.”

After high school, Wright studied fusion energy at MIT, then focused on solar energy as a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. After grad school, he landed a job in geothermal energy. Despite choosing to work in these groundbreaking fields, he got the itch to work with traditional energy sources when he joined Hunter Geophysics in the late ’80s.

“I got a job there, but they had a technology that the main application was the oil and gas business,” Wright said. “So, I already knew I was going to be in energy, but that was kind of my entree to oil and gas. And then I kind of dug into numbers. I’m a data nerd. Before I looked at numbers, I’m like, maybe this thing about running out of oil and gas isn’t true,” he said. “So, then I realized, ‘hey, if I want to really be in the energy business, I should be in oil and gas.’”

Wright started a company that developed technologies for mapping fractures. In what he calls a stroke of luck, he met someone from Mitchell Energy who convinced him to go to Texas and try out his frac solutions in the Barnett shale. The technologies Wright developed helped launch commercial shale gas production in the late 1990s.

In 2011, Wright founded Liberty Energy, an oilfield services firm that offers completion services and technologies to onshore E&Ps. He has served as chairman and CEO since its inception in what he calls his “most rewarding experience.”

“I’m humbled and thrilled to be part of the American oil and gas industry that has changed the world energy situation for the better. We’ve lowered the price of oil, we’ve lowered the price of natural gas and helped about 100 million people every year get clean cooking fuel for the first time.”

“Everyone in the company feels this mission,” he said, “that our job is to better human lives, not just for ourselves and our families, but for our communities and for the world.”

Jaxon Caines, Technology Reporter

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