Gates, Buffet eye Alberta oil sands
If they're looking for a way to invest some big, big bucks, this is surely it. But one wonders if it wouldn't conflict in a major way with the environmental concerns that have been so clearly expressed by both tycoons.
Two of the world's richest people, Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his friend, American investment magnate Warren Buffett, quietly flew into northeastern Alberta on Monday, where they took in the oilsands, apparently with awe.
Buffett and Gates -- No. 1 and 3, respectively, on the world's richest people list in the March edition of Forbes magazine -- were hosted by a group that included Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers at Canadian Natural's $9.3-billion Horizon oilsands development.
Representatives from CAPP made a presentation to the American power duo, who were pegged by Forbes in the spring as having a collective net worth of a cool $120 billion US and who could be looking for secure places to make resource-related investments now that the U.S. dollar seems to be recovering.
The Herald has learned that billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett paid a quiet visit the Alberta oilsands, Monday. [ Sponsor Content ] "We were asked to come up and give a general overview on the oilsands and Canada's role in the world of energy in general, which we did," said Greg Stringham, CAPP's vice-president. "They were exercising curiosity, basically saying, 'Wow, this is neat.' "
The two tycoons were hosted by, among others, Canadian Natural vice-chairmen Murray Edwards and company chairman Allan Markin, who are among Canada's wealthiest people.
According to Forbes' March list, Buffett, 77, known widely as America's most beloved investor and whose assets are largely held within his Omaha, Neb.-based insurance firm Berkshire Hathaway, was worth an estimated $62 billion US. Computer wizard Gates, 52, who had been the richest man on the planet for 13 straight years, had a net worth of $58 billion US.
The prestigious group made its way to the Horizon site about 100 kilometres north of oilsands hub Fort McMurray. Horizon will be Alberta's fourth major oilsands mine when first production begins this fall.