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Falling Crude Oil Prices Affect Profits at Marathon Oil Corporation

By Matthew DiLallo – Feb 5, 2014 at 6:34PM

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Marathon Oil Corporation’s earnings were impacted by declining domestic and Canadian crude oil prices.

Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO -1.16%) reported its fourth-quarter results after the market closed today, and the company delivered a fourth-quarter profit of $375 million, or $0.54 per share. That was up from last year's fourth-quarter results, when the company reported a profit of $322 million or $0.45 per share. Excluding asset sales, Marathon Oil reported an adjusted profit of $418 million, or $0.60 per share, which did miss the analysts' estimates by $0.16 per share.

According to Marathon Oil's earnings press release, "the decrease in earnings was primarily due to a significant decline in domestic and Canadian crude oil price realizations in the fourth quarter." In the third quarter, Marathon Oil sold its domestic oil for an average realized price of $101.05 per barrel of oil; however, this past quarter the company was able to realize only $87.61 per barrel of oil. Meanwhile, in Canada the company's average realized crude oil price fell from $102.64 per barrel last quarter to $78.77 this quarter.

One of the highlights on the quarter was production growth in the Eagle Ford Shale. Marathon's production in the Eagle Ford was 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or BOE/d in the fourth-quarter. That's up 8,000 BOE/d from just the third quarter. Overall, production growth from U.S. resource plays like the Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Oklahoma were up 86% from 2012, which fueled companywide production growth of 11% over the past year.

Marathon Oil expects this resource play driven growth to continue in 2014. CEO Lee Tillman noted in the company's earnings press release that his company expects to deliver production growth of more than 30% out of its resource plays. That should fuel companywide growth of 4% in 2014. 

Matt DiLallo and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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