Marathon Oil targets most of 2012 budget for Eagle Ford shale

Marathon Oil Corp. announced a $4.8 billion capital expenditure budget for 2012, of which 65% is targeted to liquids-rich US assets including the South Texas Eagle Ford shale.

Clarence P. Cazalot Jr., Marathon Oil chairman, president, and chief executive officer, expects liquids-rich US plays will provide most of the firm’s anticipated production growth during 2010-16.

The company plans to spend $900 million on its base exploration and production assets, which include operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Norway, US conventional oil and gas plays, Equatorial Guinea, the UK, and Libya.

Marathon Oil plans to drill 250-300 net wells (500-530 gross) during 2012.

Some $2.7 billion is allocated for the Eagle Ford shale, North Dakota's Bakken formation, the Anadarko Woodford shale in Oklahoma, and the emerging Niobrara shale formation within the DJ basin of southeast Wyoming and northern Colorado.

The company's plans for the Eagle Ford include ramping up to 17 rigs, drilling 155-170 net wells (200-210 gross) wells. Marathon Oil also plans to add two more hydraulic fracturing crews, bringing the total to four by midyear 2012.

Marathon plans to drill 55-70 net wells (165-175 gross) in the Bakken, 25-35 net wells (75-80 gross) in the Anadarko Woodford, and 15-25 net wells (60-65 gross) in the Niobrara.

Earlier this year, Marathon Oil completed the spinoff of its downstream business, Marathon Petroleum Corp., making Marathon Oil an independent upstream company based in Houston. Marathon Petroleum became an independent refiner based in Findlay, Ohio (OGJ Online, July 1, 2011).

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