Jack J. Grynberg

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Jack J. Grynberg (born 1932) is a Polish-born American businessman. He is a Denver-based oil and gas developer who has amassed a multimillion dollar fortune in the oil and natural gas sector.

In addition to speaking six languages, he has a Masters in Petroleum Engineering and Refining from the Colorado School of Mines.

Early life[edit]

Born in Poland, Jack Grynberg was in the second grade when the Nazis invaded Poland. He joined the resistance and by the age of 12 he was fighting in the forests of Belarus. He fought until 1945. He then moved to the U.S. state of Colorado where he attended the Colorado School of Mines, married, and began raising his three children. He would later work as a spy for the US Army in 1957 and 1958.

Business career[edit]

His first million[edit]

Grynberg made his first million by the age of 30 when he formed a company, Oceanic Exploration Co., that reworked a previously drilled gas well that had been abandoned by Amerada Hess Corporation as “noncommercial” . After reviewing and interpreting data from the area, he concluded that Amerada Hess was wrong. This reworked well led to the discovery of the prodigious Nitchie Gulch gas field in Wyoming and made Grynberg a millionaire in 1962. From there he set out on many highly successful domestic and international oil and gas exploration programs and took the Oceanic Exploration public in 1972.

Building the empire[edit]

Grynberg was also instrumental in helping discover the Kashagan Field in Kazakhstan in the 1990s, one of the largest oil field discoveries in the last 30 years.

The Kashagan Field is estimated to hold 9 billion barrels (1.4×109 m3) of recoverable oil and 25 trillion cubic feet (710 km3) of natural gas. Grynberg was one of the first western oilmen to develop relations with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev before the collapse of the Soviet Union. This relationship and others provided him with access to complex and confidential data.

According to court records, it was Grynberg who provided the introductions and data for BG, BP, Statoil, ARCO, Transworld Oil and others to enter the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s. When the consortium of major American oil companies fell apart, BG cut its own deal for the Karachagnak gas/condensate field and attempted to exclude Grynberg from the deal. Grynberg sued in Texas, and though much of the Texas court case is sealed, industry insiders estimate that Grynberg was awarded a 15% interest in the BG deal.


When BP attempted to exclude Grynberg from its 9.5% stake in its Kashagan stake, Grynberg sued them as well in New York including leveling a racketeering charge against then BP CEO, John Browne. The case was settled in arbitration with all parties sworn to secrecy, but again, industry insiders estimate that Grynberg was awarded a 15% interest.

BP and BG both sold their remaining interests in Kashagan in 2003. BG sold to the Sinopec and BP to CNOOC. The combined sales price is estimated to have been $1.23 billion, of which Grynberg may have received as much as 15% of ($185 million). This is in addition to the $90 million that Grynberg is estimated to have received with BP and Statoil previously sold part of their interests to Total for $600 million in 2001.

Grynberg is known for shrewdly defending his rights in court. According to one source, during negotiations involving the Kashagan interests, he ripped up a settlement check for $90 million and demanded appraisal and arbitration. [1]

Grynberg owns more than 800 oil and natural gas well wells throughout the world. He is involved in ventures in the former Soviet Union, Middle East, Africa, Far East and Latin America and holds some of the largest concessions in the world. [2]

Most recently Grynberg has been focused on a Qui Tam lawsuit against the major oil companies accusing them of stealing billions of dollars in royalties from the U.S. government. [3]

Current Ventures[edit]

Since 2006 Grynberg has been working on developing ethanol plants in Latin America and has received leases and agreements throughout Latin America.

In 2006 through 2007, it is reputed that Mr. Grynberg entered into discussions with Ivanhoe Energy, (IVAN: NASDAQ) to provide services from their heavy oil unit for his leases in the Pungarayacu Tar Sands Heavy Oil Deposit in Ecuador.[4]

According to public court records, Grynberg has argued that after meeting to discuss services and joint venture opportunities, and sharing proprietary geotechnical data, that Ivanhoe then circumvented Grynberg and bribed the previous Ecuadorian President, who canceled the Grynberg lease and awarded it to Ivanhoe. The current president of Ecuador has acknowledge the issues at stake.[5] The case is currently open against Ivanhoe and Robert Friedland, Chairman, President and CEO of Ivanhoe.


  1. ^ Plats Oilgram News, Wednesday, March 12, 2003
  2. ^ Wall Street Journal, October 23, 1996
  3. ^ Rocky Mountain News, July 4, 2003
  4. ^ http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_11065663
  5. ^ http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90852/6552953.html

External links[edit]