Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Boosts Stake in Occidental Petroleum

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

BRK.B -0.73%

just made another $529 million bet on big energy.

Warren Buffett’s

company bought 9.6 million more shares of

Occidental Petroleum Corp.

OXY -3.63%

in June, according to a regulatory filing released late Wednesday.

The transactions, which were made over two days, bring Berkshire’s stake in Occidental to about 16%. 

Berkshire is Occidental’s biggest shareholder. It began buying shares in Occidental in late February, after Mr. Buffett said he happened to view an analyst presentation on the company. He was impressed by Occidental Chief Executive

Vicki Hollub’s

plans for the company, which include paying down debt, buying back shares and delivering dividend payouts to shareholders. 

“What Vicki Hollub was saying made nothing but sense,” Mr. Buffett said at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in May. “And I decided that it was a good place to put Berkshire’s money.” 

Days after Occidental’s February earnings call, Berkshire began rapidly buying shares. In the span of about two weeks, Berkshire wound up building a 14% stake in the company. 

The moves have been a boon to Berkshire. Occidental shares are up 92% for the year through Wednesday, dramatically outperforming the S&P 500, which has fallen 21% over the same period. Like other energy stocks, Occidental has benefited from the spike in oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Both Mr. Buffett and right-hand-man

Charlie Munger

expressed favorable views of U.S. oil companies at Berkshire’s annual meeting. 

“We should be very happy that we can produce 11 million barrels a day, or something of the sort, in the United States, rather than being able to produce none and having to find 11 million barrels a day somewhere else in the world to take care of keeping the American industrial machine working,” Mr. Buffett said at the meeting. 

Mr. Munger went further.

“I’m basically in love with Standard Oil,” he said.

Write to Akane Otani at [email protected]

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