HOUSTON, May 6 (Reuters) - Marathon Oil Corp., an independent exploration and production company, reported a first-quarter loss on Wednesday as tumbling oil prices sliced its revenue nearly in half.
The first quarter adjusted net loss was $253 million, or $0.37 a diluted share. That was narrower than the $0.45 net loss forecast in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S consensus view.
A year ago, before oil prices fell 50 percent and revenue slumped to $1.5 billion, the company posted a quarterly adjusted profit of $613 million.
Unlike integrated companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Marathon lacks a refining arm it can rely on to bolster profits when oil prices fall.
In terms of operations, Marathon said it had reduced North American production costs 17 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014 and 28 percent from a year ago as producers demand discounts from services companies.
Though some shale oil companies have raised their 2015 production outlooks this week, Marathon said its projected growth rates "remain unchanged" at 5-7 percent for the total company, excluding Libya, and 20 percent for the U.S. fields.
It said select non-core asset sales could generate some $500 million in revenue as it tweaks its portfolio of oil and gas properties.
(Reporting By Terry Wade)
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