In the long-running competition for profits in the oil and gas industry Marathon Oil is keeping up a steady pace. The company explores for oil and gas primarily in Angola, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Libya, Norway, Poland, the UK, and the US. In 2012 it reported proved reserves of more than 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent including 653 million barrels of synthetic oil derived from oil sands mining. Its major areas of production include Europe (Norway and the UK); Africa (Equatorial Guinea and Libya); and Canada (the Athabasca Oil Sands Project). In the US, the company’s core production assets are in Colorado, the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.
Marathon Oil has oil and gas assets in Angola, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Kurdistan (Iraq), Libya, Norway, Poland, the UK, and the US.
Marathon Oil is engaged in oil and gas exploration production worldwide; oil sands mining (extracting bitumen from oil sands deposits in Alberta, and producing synthetic crude oil and vacuum gas oil); and LNG and methanol marketing in Equatorial Guinea.
Subsidiary Marathon Petroleum has oil and gas marketing, refining, pipeline, and transportation operations.
Marathon Oil's revenues grew by 6% in 2012 thanks to a 8% increase in exploration and production revenues as the result of higher oil volumes and a net realized gain on crude oil derivative instruments of $15 million. Oil sands revenues declined by 2% due to lower prices partially offset by higher sales volumes. The company's international gas segment revenues (Equatorial Guinea) dropped to zero in 2012 from $93 million in 2011, in part due to the company ceasing its Alaskan LNG operations in late 2011.
The company reported net income of $1.6 billion in 2012 (46% down on 2011) primarily due to an increased income tax provision.
Bouncing back from a global recession driven 2009 revenue slump, Marathon Oil has seen upward trend in revenues in recent years.
Seeking stronger financial returns, in 2011 Marathon Oil (formerly a holding company with both upstream and downstream operations) spun off its downstream unit Marathon Petroleum (which had accounted for the bulk of its revenues) and became a pure-play exploration and production company.
A key part of Marathon Oil's growth strategy involves making large divestitures and acquisitions. It planned to make divestitures worth $1.5 billion to $3 billion over the period of 2011 through 2013 in an effort to position the company for profitable growth. Included in this plan is an agreement to divest its exploration and production assets in Alaska for $375 million. In 2013 it also agreed to sell a 10% stake in Angola Block 31 to Sinopec for $1.5 billion.
In 2012 the company announced a $5.2 billion 2013 capital, investment, and exploration budget (65% devoted to growing Marathon Oil's liquids-rich shale assets in the US). It also planned to spend $1.1 billion on base assets in Africa, Europe, and North America, including oil sands mining properties.
Mergers and Acquisitions
On the acquisition side, Marathon Oil has made significant investments in the South Texas Eagle Ford resource play. In 2012 it acquired 25,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford shale play. The largest deals were the acquisitions of Paloma Partners II, LLC, for $768 million, and an separate acquisition of proved and unproved properties for $232 million.
All told, the Eagle Ford acquisitions are expected to add a number of drilling locations to Marathon's inventory and will boost its position to about 225,000 net acres.
In 2011 it bought $3.5 billion of Eagle Ford assets from KKR and Hilcorp Energy.
Blackrock, Inc. owns 10% of Marathon Oil.