Marathon Oil 1Q Net Falls 8.2% on Tax Provision

Marathon Oil Corp.'s first-quarter earnings fell 8.2% as the energy company set aside more for income taxes, masking revenue growth.

Shares fell 4.4% to $2.84 as results fell short of Street expectations.

Marathon Oil spun off its downstream and petroleum assets in 2011 as Marathon Petroleum Corp. in an effort to focus its drilling efforts on oil-rich unconventional fields in the U.S. The company's profits from oil and gas operations have risen in recent quarters as its production has exceeded expectations.

Marathon Oil has boosted its investments in oil-bearing shale formations like the Bakken in North Dakota, the Anadarko Woodford in Oklahoma and the Eagle Ford in South Texas this year, and expects to see higher production as a result.

For the latest quarter, Marathon Oil reported a profit of $383 million, or 54 cents a share, down from $417 million, or 45 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items such as impairments and unrealized gains on crude oil derivative instruments, earnings from continuing operations fell to 51 cents from 67 cents.

Revenue increased 1.6% to $4.1 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting per-share earnings of 72 cents on revenue of $4.25 billion.

Operating margin widened to 36% from 34.5%.

The latest quarter included a provision of $1.03 billion for income taxes, compared with $927 million a year earlier.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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