William Alvin Moncrieff Jr., the Texas wildcat who helped build a father-son venture into an oil and gas empire over 70 years in the industry, has died
DALLAS — Texas wildcatter William Alvin Moncrieff Jr., who helped build a father-son venture into an oil and gas empire over 70 years in the industry, has died. He was 101 years old.
A spokesman for Moncrief Oil confirmed his death to The Associated Press on Wednesday, but could not immediately provide more details.
According to Texas Monthly, Moncrieff, who went by the nickname “Tex,” was born at his family’s kitchen table in Arkansas in 1920. His father, William Alvin “Monty” Moncrieff, was among the earliest wildcatters to drill for oil in East Texas.
The younger Moncrieff spent his life on that tradition, achieving a fortune that earned him a reputation as a benevolent philanthropist, but also attracted the scrutiny of tax officials.
At the age of 10, Moncrieff saw his father open a “gusher” oil well in Gregton, 128 miles (206 km) east of Dallas. Little Moncrieff told the Longview news-journal last year that people had gathered to watch the drilling and were initially disappointed when the well contained only muddy water.
But then “it went out about 90 to 100 feet,” he recalled. “When it covered 100 feet, it made solid oil.”
As a youth, Moncrieff considered dropping out of school to pursue golf professionally. But his father spoke to him and he graduated from the University of Texas in 1942 with a degree in petroleum engineering.
After the United States entered World War II, Moncrieff enlisted and served as a naval officer in the Pacific. Upon his return to Texas, he went into business with his father and the pair acquired major oil and gas prospects across the country.
“The Moncriefs have long been synonymous with Texas oil and great discoveries,” Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2015.
Forbes magazine named Moncrieff on its billionaires list in 2006 and listed his net worth as $1 billion in 2014, writing that the biggest discovery of his career was the discovery of deep-water gas off the coast of Louisiana four years earlier. With the discovery of reserves. Known as the “Davy Jones” area.
In 1994, Moncrief’s estate attracted the attention of the tax authorities. Internal Revenue Service agents raided his Fort Worth offices and later accused his family and company of billing the government more than $100 million in taxes. Moncrieff eventually pleaded no contest to the tax suit, paying the IRS $23 million but downplayed the agency’s aggressive strategy.
Moncrieff was a major donor to Texas Christian University, the University of Texas, and UT Southwestern Medical Center, where a Fort Worth medical complex and cancer center are named for him. He also served on the University of Texas System Board of Regents.
Fort Worth Republican State Rep. Charlie Geren said Moncrieff’s philanthropy has improved the lives of many.
“He was an incredibly generous man and a real legend in the Texas oil and gas industry,” Geren said.