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Buffett and Gates tour Canada's oil sands

Buffett and Gates tour Canada's oil sands

Two of the world's richest men visited the Alberta's oil sands this week and inquired about Canada's energy plans, a Canadian oil official said Wednesday.
Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway, and Bill Gates, Microsoft's founder, visited the oil sands on Monday.
Davies said the two men asked the industry body to give a general overview of the oil sands and Canada's position in the energy world.
Canadian Natural Resources, Canada's second-largest oil and gas firm, hosted part of the tour at its $9.3 billion Canadian (US$8.7 billion) Horizon oil sands project, which is currently under development.
Davies said the two took a helicopter tour over Alberta's massive open pit mines and also visited another oil sands development. He didn't know which one or if the two plan to invest.
"We gave a broad overview, environment included of course," Davies said.
Major oil companies are rushing to exploit Alberta's oil sands, which make Canada one of the few countries that can significantly ramp up oil production amid the decline in conventional reserves.
Industry officials estimate the region could yield as much as 175 billion barrels of oil, making Canada second only to Saudi Arabia in crude oil reserves. Critics say the growing operations will increase greenhouse gas emissions and threaten Alberta's rivers and forests.
Davies said CAPP was asked to give the presentation but didn't organize the tour. Neither Canadian Natural or Berkshire Hathaway were immediately available for comment.