Perhaps no quote encapsulates the overall importance that the late George Mitchell held in the development of U.S. shales and the growth of America’s position in world energy markets than this one.  “George Mitchell dramatically changed America’s energy position,” IHS Markit’s Daniel Yergin told Oil and Gas Investor’s Leslie Haines following the shale pioneer’s death at 94 in 2013.

It was Mitchell’s E&P company, Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., that experimented doggedly for 17 years to create the “overnight success” of the Barnett shale of North Texas. Its eventual success led the oil and gas industry into a leasing and drilling frenzy from roughly 2004 to today as shale plays in other basins were developed.

Today would have been Mitchell’s 100th birthday.

We here at Hart Energy feel this occasion is the perfect time to revisit the legacy of the man who participated in drilling some 10,000 wells, including more than 1,000 wildcats.

He was also a community philanthropist. To combat poverty, and because he was interested in urban planning and preserving the environment, in 1975 he opened one of the most successful mixed-use “New Towns” in the U.S. with The Woodlands, just north of Houston. Rather than a bedroom suburb, he envisioned a full-blown town where people live, work, and play among the trees – all power lines are underground, billboards are prohibited, and trees are preserved in all developments. Today this parklike atmosphere is home to about 120,000 people.

And he spent millions on historic preservation in his home town, Galveston, helping to revive its once-moribund economy and reinstituting Mardi Gras each spring.

In this video presentation titled, “George Mitchell and the Barnett Shale,” that was produced and originally aired as a tribute in his honor, notable industry executives discuss how one man’s unconventional thinking revolutionized an entire industry.

Relive the life of George Mitchell from the pages of Oil and Gas Investor: