Apache founder and former CEO Raymand Plank dies at 96


HOUSTON -- Houston-based Apache Corporation confirmed to various wire services that its Founder and former Chairman, Raymond Plank, died Nov. 8 at his Wyoming home, at the age of 96. His son, Roger Plank, currently founder and CEO of Apex International Energy, confirmed his father’s death.

Born in 1922, Plank served as a bomber pilot in the Pacific theater during World War II. After the war, he returned to Yale University to finish his degree and graduate. A native of Minneapolis, Plank founded an accounting and tax service in that city, which managed oil and gas investment programs. In 1954, he and two friends used $250,000 of initial capital to start Apache. Over the years, the company grew steadily, financing its drilling programs through individual partnerships.

Looking for a more permanent financing mechanism, Plank, in 1981, worked with a law firm to pioneer the first publicly-traded partnership, better known as a master limited partnership (MLP). Since then, MLPs have gained great favor among operators for their tax benefits. In the 1990s, Apache entered a period of major expansion, as Plank guided the firm into acquiring properties in major plays, including the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Egypt and Australia. Although the firm’s mix of properties has evolved over the years, its market cap is now reportedly close to $14 billion.

Plank retired as Apache’s chairman in 2009, at age 86. In his retirement and later years, he worked with the Ucross Foundation, which he founded in 1981. It “fosters the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of the majestic High Plains” on a 20,000-acre working ranch in northeastern Wyoming.

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