Robert A. Hefner III is founder and owner of The GHK Company, an Oklahoma-based natural gas and oil firm. He pioneered ultradeep natural gas exploration and led the development of innovative technology necessary to successfully drill and produce the world’s deepest and highest pressure natural gas wells. In the 1970s he became the lone proponent of America’s natural gas abundance, and was a leader in the successful effort to deregulate natural gas prices during the Carter Administration. Hefner holds a geology degree from the University of Oklahoma, is a member of the International Council at Harvard’s Belfer Center, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, a Director of the American Clean Skies Foundation, a member of the Singapore International Advisory Panel on Energy, a former Board member of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2010. Hefner’s book on the past, present and future of energy development – The Grand Energy Transition – was published by Wiley & Sons in 2009. A documentary based on the book is available gratis at www.The-GET.com).
Since 1985, Hefner has actively pursued his interest in China in the areas of energy, foreign affairs, and contemporary Chinese art, developing the internationally known Hefner Collection (www.hefnercollection.com). Hefner and his wife, MeiLi, founded the Robert and MeiLi Hefner Foundation which has brought rising young Chinese government officials to study at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. The Foundation also sponsors educational trips to China and Singapore for outstanding high-school students. The Hefner’s were the principal donors for the James R. Schlesinger Professorship of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School.