Marathon Oil Corporation's Eagle Ford Shale operations. Photo credit: Marathon Oil Corporation

Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) increased its production out of U.S. resource plays by 86% in 2013. That fueled an 11% year-over-year gain in the company's total production. The company is thriving off the surging oil production it's seeing from places like the Eagle Ford Shale.

That same story line was found at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC) as well as at ConocoPhillips (APA 0.21%) where those companies reported similar shale-fueled growth last quarter. Anadarko Petroleum, for example, reported that its U.S. onshore operating areas achieved a 25% increase in oil volumes over the prior year. Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips enjoyed a 31% production surge out of its U.S. resource plays. If it wasn't for this shale-fueled growth, these companies would have all reported pretty lousy results last year.

Winning the race
Marathon Oil is seeing the most success in the Eagle Ford Shale. The company's production averaged 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or BOE/d in the quarter. That was up 8,000 BOE/d from just the prior quarter. The company added another 10,000 BOE/d to its production as it exited the year so that its production now tops 100,000 BOE/d. In the past year Marathon Oil's Eagle Ford Shale production alone is up 53%.


Photo credit: Marathon Oil Corporation

On top of that the company's Bakken Shale production continues to grow. It was up 14% over last year and 5% over the prior quarter. The company is now producing more than 40,000 BOE/d from the Bakken. In addition to that, the company is also starting to pump more oil and gas out of its Oklahoma resource basins as production topped 14,000 BOE/d last quarter. Marathon is expecting even more growth in Oklahoma this year as it grew its acreage position in the play by 20% while it will be doubling its rig count this year.

Following close behind
ConocoPhillips is seeing similar results in its Eagle Ford Shale and Bakken Shale operations. The company delivered peak production rates of 141,000 BOE/d in the Eagle Ford Shale last quarter while its Bakken Shale production topped 43,000 BOE/d on the quarter. When combined with its operations in the Permian Basin, ConocoPhillips saw its production surge by 31% year over year.

ConocoPhillips is already looking for the next area to fuel future growth. The company sees promising unconventional opportunities in the Permian Basin as well as in Colorado's Niobrara. While the company is still currently just exploring those areas, both could soon emerge as a new growth area for the company over the next year. 

Different path, same results
While Anadarko Petroleum is seeing solid production growth out of the Eagle Ford Shale as well, the company's strength is in its Colorado operations. The company's Wattenberg Horizontal program grew production to more than 56,000 BOE/d last year. That's up by 34,000 BOE/d from what the company produced in 2012. Further, it ended the year with average daily production of more than 72,000 BOE/d, which is simply stunning year-over-year growth for the company.

Like ConocoPhillips, it too sees promise in the Permian Basin. It's currently evaluating the Wolfcamp portion of the Permian's Delaware Basin. So far the company has drilled 29 wells into the Wolfcamp Shale, while it has several rigs running to continue testing. Given the results of some of its peers, Anadarko is likely to begin to see some real production growth from the Permian Basin.

Investor takeaway
America's energy boom is fueling stunning production growth for America's energy companies. It's enabling companies like ConocoPhillips, Anadarko Petroleum, and Marathon Oil to thrive at a time where production growth outside the U.S. is rather weak. This is why we are seeing all three companies shed assets overseas in order to focus on growth in the U.S.