Press Release

'Oil Capital' by Haynes and Boone's Buddy Clark Covers Rise of Independent American Oilmen

June 01, 2016

Haynes and Boone, LLP lawyer Bernard F. Clark, Jr., one of the nation’s leading advisers to energy companies and their lenders, is pleased to debut a deeply-researched history of the American oil business that recounts the industry’s booms and busts for more than 150 years, providing unique perspective and vital context about the current state of the energy market.

“Oil Capital, The History of American Oil, Wildcatters, Independents and Their Bankers,” covers the rise of independent American oilmen — starting with the first commercial wells developed in Pennsylvania in the 1850s up to the present day shale gas revolution —viewed from a novel vantage point: the critical role bankers and investors have played in financing the producers’ quest for oil buried deep underground.

Clark traces the flow of capital that has financed America’s energy entrepreneurs to explore, compete and develop America’s oil and gas industry as the world’s leader. 

“The accomplishments of [American] oil companies were and are as dependent upon access to capital as they have been upon access to the hydrocarbons they seek to exploit,” Clark writes. Or as Joe Bridges, a successful Texas oilman interviewed by Clark, puts it: “The oil and gas business is always out of money. It just inhales capital.”

The book’s follow-the-money approach allows for a unique, colorful tale. Indeed, as the book illustrates, energy bankers and financiers have exhibited incredible derring-do and cunning over the years to manage the inherent risks of loaning massive sums against collateral hidden deep underground. 

“Oil Capital” offers perhaps the most definitive account of the evolving tools and methods energy financiers have used to manage risks and keep oil derricks humming. In the 1930s, pioneering lenders would rely on their existing energy-industry customers to vet the reserves of other oil producers seeking loans. Later, as Clark notes, energy banks added technical staff and deployed improved engineering technology to more accurately estimate reserves. 

This well researched story is also a valuable reference resource for the evolution of the different financing structures that responded to world events and the evolving changes in legal and tax regulations over the industry’s history. 

Readers will find parallels between historical cycles documented in the book and the current period of suppressed prices, widespread bankruptcies and diminished access to capital. The 1980s, which Clark calls the “decade of destruction,” saw a steep drop in oil and gas prices, a rash of layoffs and bankruptcies and the advent of Houston office towers so barren they came to be known as “see-through” buildings.  But energy producers and lenders adjusted, cutting costs while devising new technologies and creative financing methods.

Such is the nature of the business — destruction, followed by reinvention and resurgence, Clark reminds readers.  “The cycles repeat, each with new producers and new bankers and new sources of capital,” he writes. “No matter what happens at the surface, the rocks stay the same, the hydrocarbons formed millions of years ago remain, waiting to be produced.”

To schedule interviews with the author, please contact Doug Bedell at 214-651-5815 or, or Lola Mattison at 214-651-5467 or Copies can be purchased on by clicking here.