Dan L. Duncan, 77, who co-founded Enterprise Products Co. in 1968 and took Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) public in July 1998, died from a cerebral hemorrhage March 28 at his home in Houston. He is survived by his wife, Jan, four children and four grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled at 1 p.m. CST Tuesday (April 6) at Second Baptist Church in Houston.
“The entire Enterprise family mourns the unexpected passing of Dan Duncan, who will be truly missed,” said Enterprise CEO Michael A. Creel. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Duncan was a self-made man who started Enterprise with $10,000 and two propane trucks to become the wealthiest man in Houston. He recently was ranked 74th on the Forbes list of wealthiest individuals. Duncan, whose wealth was estimated at around $9.8 billion, also was a record-setting philanthropist, a cancer survivor, and a legendary big-game hunter who had stalked animals all over the world.
Called a “visionary leader” by the companies he helped to found and continued to help manage, “perhaps Mr. Duncan’s most enduring legacy is that of being one of our country’s great supporters of medical research,” EPD noted. “Through his generous financial commitments to the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Mr. Duncan was committed to ensuring that Houston remains a leader in the field of medical research, treatment and prevention of cancer.”
Duncan’s story is one for the history books. He grew up in Center, an East Texas town near the Louisiana border. His home had dirt floors, he told friends. When he was seven, his only sibling, a brother, died of tetanus, and his mother succumbed to tuberculosis. His father, who was a pipeliner, died of leukemia when Duncan was 17. Both his first and second wife died of cancer.
The young boy lived with his grandmother and traveled with his father when he could. Later Duncan would credit his grandmother for his success. She instilled within him a strong work ethic that would become the foundation for his success in businessman and was summed up in the simple message she taught him, “Do the best you can everyday.”
At school, Duncan skipped two grades and graduated at 16 as a four-sport letterman. After graduation Duncan became a roughneck and pipeliner, and following a stint in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict in the mid-1950s, Duncan returned to Houston in 1955 and earned a degree from Massey Business College.
Wanda Petroleum, an independent trucking and underground storage company, hired Duncan in 1957 after his graduation and put him to work as an accountant. Eventually he became executive vice president, and when Wanda was sold in 1968, Duncan struck out on his own.
“My idea was to build an asset-based, midstream company that’d serve the industry better than Wanda,” Duncan told the Houston Chronicle. “Major companies wanted to do business with companies with significant assets. Some brokers just had telephones.”
With his relatively small stake and the propane delivery trucks, Duncan helped to found Enterprise Products Co. in 1968. The first facility in Mont Belvieu, TX, was completed within a year of startup. By 1973 Enterprise was a $3 million company, and in 1998 Enterprise went public and created EPD as a master limited partnership. Duncan also helped to found Duncan Energy Partners LP (DEP), which was launched in late 2006 (see NGI, Nov. 6, 2006).
Under his leadership Duncan built one of the most successful families of midstream energy companies, which now includes three publicly traded partnerships with an aggregate value of more than $30 billion.
EPD provides midstream energy services to producers and consumers of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), crude oil, refined products and petrochemicals. The partnership’s assets include 48,700 miles of onshore and offshore pipelines; around 190 million bbl of storage capacity for NGLs, refined products and crude oil; and 27 Bcf of natural gas storage capacity. EPD is managed by its general partner, Enterprise Products GP LLC, which is owned by Enterprise GP Holdings LP.
DEP owns interests in assets located primarily in Texas and Louisiana, including interests in about 9,400 miles of natural gas pipelines with a transportation capacity aggregating around 7.9 Bcf/d; more than 1,600 miles of NGL and petrochemical pipelines featuring access to the fractionation complex at Mont Belvieu, TX; two NGL fractionation facilities in South Texas; about 18 million bbl of leased NGL storage capacity; 8.5 Bcf of leased natural gas storage capacity; and 34 underground salt dome caverns with more than 100 million bbl of NGL storage capacity at Mont Belvieu. DEP is managed by its general partner, DEP Holdings LLC, which is a subsidiary of Enterprise.
The CEOs of Enterprise Products, Enterprise GP Holdings and Duncan Energy, Michael Creel, Ralph S. Cunningham and Richard H. Bachmann, respectively, will continue to serve in their roles. There is no change planned in the ownership or management of the respective partnerships.
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