Helmerich & Payne Company History Timeline


Since 1920, H&P has been the industry’s most trusted partner in drilling productivity and reliability.

The story of Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (H&P) began in 1920, when Walter “Walt” Helmerich II—a thrill-seeking aviator from Chicago, and William “Bill” Payne—a hard-working microbiologist from Shawnee, Oklahoma, met on a Star 29 cable rig in South Bend, Texas.

H&P was founded in 1920 by Walt Helmerich and William Payne.


By then H&P owned three rigs, and in 1926 the partners moved two of their rigs to Oklahoma in order to tap into the oil-rich Osage County field.


The company established another landmark in 1936, constructing a working rig on the lawn in front of Oklahoma's State Capital building.

The company nevertheless continued its own exploration and drilling efforts, and in 1936 H&P made a major strike in the Hugoton natural gas fields in southeastern Kansas.


By 1939, H&P owed some $1 million in debt, and the company verged on bankruptcy.


In order to make the company more attractive to lenders, H&P reorganized in 1944 as the White Eagle Oil Company, which would be chiefly engaged in exploration and production.


By 1949, the company was posting revenues of $6.7 million.


By 1952, the company was operating 17 deep-drilling rigs in six states.


Meanwhile the company was expanding its operations, entering the international market with lease-partnerships in Venezuela in 1957.


In 1959 the company reorganized again, dropping the White Eagle name and going public.


The acquisition of Houston-based F. H. Maloney Company in 1964 brought H&P into manufacturing, with the production of molded rubber, machined metal, and other products for oil and pipeline companies.

Preparations for entering the burgeoning off-shore drilling market began in 1964, with the construction of the company's own off-shore rig.


By 1968, H&P had bought up enough stock to make itself the largest single investor in Sunray DX, an oil and gas company.


But in 1989, with revenues of $171 million, H&P was the only drilling company in the world to post a profit, of $22.7 million.


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In 1996 the company posted revenues of $393.2 million.


Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002.


After benefiting and growing as a result of shale drilling, as of 2015, the company was losing market share and shrinking in size as lower prices in crude oil led to cuts in use of their oil rigs.


For example, Helmerich & Payne owned nearly 20% of the roughly 960 drilling rigs operating in the United States onshore market as of June 2017.

*Stock Advisor returns as of August 1, 2017


*Stock Advisor returns as of June 2, 2022

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Helmerich & Payne History FAQs

How Old Is Helmerich & Payne?

Helmerich & Payne is 103 years old.

Who Is The Founder Of Helmerich & Payne?

Randy A. Foutch, Walt Helmerich II and William Payne founded Helmerich & Payne.

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Helmerich & Payne may also be known as or be related to H&P, Helmerich & Payne, Helmerich & Payne Inc, Helmerich & Payne Inc. and Helmerich & Payne, Inc.