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Marathon Oil Goes Truly All American As It Divests Iraq Play

Marathon offshore North Sea

Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) has completed its divestiture of its Kurdistan assets on Friday, according to company press release, as it seeks to divest nearly all its oil operations overseas to focus on operations in the United States.

Marathon Oil held a 15% stake interest in the Atrush Block in the Kurdistan region in Iraq, and represents its only holding in the country.

While the project was a small one, netting 2,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, the exit is reflective of Marathon’s bigger push to shore up its business in the United States, exiting 9 total countries since 2013. The tenth country that Marathon will exit is the United Kingdom, which is expected to close in the second half of 2019 when RockRose Energy will purchase Marathon Oil’s stake in Marathon Oil UK LLC and Marathon Oil West of Shetland Limited—projects that combined generated 13,000 barrels per day.

Marathon Oil has also exited Libya—an oil hotpot that has been a headache for foreign oil companies due to the civil unrest.

The plan is for Marathon Oil to invest more heavily back home, pouring billions into the Eagle Ford, the Bakken, STACK/SCOOP in Oklahoma, and the Permian. Marathon’s US-based production for Q1 2019 came in at 388,000 boep/d, versus 426,000 boe/d in Q1 2018.

Marathon has plans to allocate 60 percent of its 2019 capital to the Eagle Ford and Bakken plays, and 40% to the northern Delaware (in the Permian) and Oklahoma plays, with more of the capital being allocated to the more mature assets, and caution being exercised in the Permian where the current pipeline constraints create complications, according to Marathon Oil CEO Lee Tillman in an interview with the Houston Chronicle earlier this month.

While Marathon Oil is returning to its roots in the United States for oil, Marathon Oil Corp still has LNG operations in Equatorial Guinea, that together with Noble Energy will create a mega hub for LNG in the country.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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