Moncrief Oil International, owned and operated by the Richard W. Moncrief family, has pledged a gift to The University of Texas at Austin from the potential proceeds from litigation over the Yuzhno Russkoye gas field in Russia. Depending on the outcome of the litigation, the gift could total as much as $500 million.
According to Richard W. Moncrief, the gift would honor his father, William A. (Tex) Moncrief Jr., and would endow "a program to speed up the development of alternative energy and reduce the impact of higher energy prices on American consumers." The university would receive up to $500 million from 25 percent of the net proceeds Richard Moncrief's company receives from the gas field.
William A. (Tex) Moncrief of Fort Worth, Texas, has been a lifelong philanthropic supporter of the university, having given more than $27 million for architecture, athletics, the Center for American History, engineering, financial aid, fine arts, the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, law, business and natural sciences. The W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr.-V.F. "Doc" Neuhaus Athletic Center was named for him in 1997. He was graduated from the university in 1942 with a degree in petroleum engineering.
Richard Moncrief's company is engaged in the United States and Germany in legal actions related to the Yuzhno Russkoye gas field. Moncrief is asking a U.S. court to "protect American energy interests" by ruling in a dispute between the company and Gazprom, the Russian company that operates the gas field. Gazprom wants the issue to be adjudicated in a Russian court. Moncrief's interest in the gas field is estimated at more than $16 billion.
Richard W. Moncrief said his "company wants its interests protected in a U.S. or European court primarily because of Russian President Dimitry Medvedev's recent public admission that Russia has no functioning judiciary."
"The Moncrief family has a long tradition of giving to The University of Texas at Austin," said William C. Powers Jr., president of the university. "This is another generous contribution that would be an enormous catalyst to the work already being done by our faculty and researchers in the energy field. We will watch the legal developments in this case with great interest in the hope the litigation will be handled expeditiously."
Research in clean, renewable and sustainable energy is conducted at the university in many disciplines, from chemistry and biology to physics, computer sciences, public policy and geological sciences. Researchers are investigating how to develop multiple and alternative sources of clean energy and how to effectively and efficiently use the energy, how to store it and more. Researchers also are working to make existing energy sources cleaner and safer.