John Arnold: Master of Energy

You don't have to be a trader or work in the industry to know that energy is a huge business. Just look at your next heating bill or at the gas pump next time you fill up your car.

Oil isn't the only place you can make money. There's big money in solar power, wind energy, and natural gas, among other things. John D. Arnold is a man who hit it big trading natural gas in the 1990s and 2000s, and he went on to found one of the most successful energy trading hedge funds, Centaurus Energy, after leaving Enron. He now ranks as one of the world's richest people with a net worth well over a billion dollars.


After reading Chapter 2 on Jim Chanos, you no doubt have a better understanding of how Enron worked and what went wrong with the company. Despite the bad rap that's normally associated with Enron, the company did in fact have a highly successful trading operation and made many of its traders very wealthy.

After graduating from college, Arnold began working at Enron as an energy analyst. He soon moved to trading crude oil and eventually to natural gas. This proved to be his bread and butter, and Arnold began making lots of money for the firm. In one year alone, he brought in $750 million in trading profits, earning an $8 million bonus for his efforts.

While energy is still traded in significant size on the floor with futures contracts and swap derivatives, Enron pioneered online trading with its Enron Online business, giving ...

Get The Greatest Trades of All Time: Top Traders Making Big Profits from the Crash of 1929 to Today now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.