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Marathon Oil profit up 11 per cent as production rises

Marathon's Texas City refinery: The company’s third-quarter profit was $450-million.

David J. Phillip/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Marathon Oil Corp. on Tuesday reported an 11-per-cent increase in quarterly profit as oil and gas production rose more than expected.

Shares of Marathon rose nearly 3 per cent in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.

The company reported better-than-expected oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford formation in southern Texas and the Bakken shale in North Dakota, according to analysts at Houston based energy investment bank Simmons & Co.

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Profit in the third quarter was $450-million (U.S.), or 63 cents per share, compared with $405-million, or 57 cents, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, profit was 64 cents per share, matching analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Marathon's total production available for sale, excluding Libya, was 438,000 barrels oil equivalent (boe) per day during the quarter, up from 386,000 a year earlier.

Marathon said in late October it was in talks to sell a portion of its stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project in Canada. That expected sale and others are part of the Houston company's plan to shed less profitable assets while investing in drilling for oil in areas like the Eagle Ford.

Marathon has spent heavily to add acreage in that formation, where it has met with success producing growing amounts of crude oil. For next year, Marathon expects to produce 85,000 boe per day in the Eagle Ford, up 20 per cent from this year, Dave Roberts, Marathon's head of exploration told analysts on a conference call.

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