By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is betting that the oil boom isn’t going to end any time soon.
Berkshire Hathaway disclosed in a regulatory filing late Wednesday that it spent about $529 million to buy nearly 9.6 million shares of Occidental Petroleum in the past week.
Berkshire Hathaway made the purchases between June 17 and June 22. Buffett’s conglomerate now owns a 16.3% stake in Occidental Petroleum, making it by far the largest owner of the stock. Mutual fund giant Vanguard is the second biggest investor, with a nearly 11% position in the company.
Occidental Petroleum is the best performer in the S&P 500 this year, rising 92% as crude prices have soared. Shares were up more than 3% in early trading Thursday.
But Occidental Petroleum isn’t the only energy company that Berkshire loves. Chevron, the Dow’s top stock of 2022, is also a favorite of Buffett and his investing team. (Berkshire executives Ted Weschler and Todd Combs run the portfolio along with the Oracle of Omaha.)
Berkshire said it owned a nearly $26 billion stake in the oil giant, a position that trailed only its stakes in Apple, Bank of America and American Express at the time. The value of Berkshire’s long-time holding in Coca-Cola has since eclipsed that of both Chevron and AmEx.
The oil and energy business is also an important part of Berkshire’s overall operating business. The company’s energy subsidiary owns leading electric utilities including PacifiCorp and MidAmerican, oil and natural gas pipelines and several renewable power companies.
Greg Abel, the Berkshire vice chairman who oversees Berkshire Energy and the company’s other non-financial businesses, was tapped last year to eventually succeed the 91-year-old Buffett as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
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