Marathon Oil to Sell Noncore Eagle Ford Acreage

HOUSTON - Marathon Oil Corp. plans to sell just under 100,000 acres from its holdings in the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas, about one third of the acreage it holds in the booming oil region.

Marathon spokeswoman Lee Warren said the sale doesn't change Marathon's plans to put the Eagle Ford at the heart of its growth strategy, but is instead part an effort to focus in on the core areas of the formation.

"The acreage being marketed is not part of the approximately 200,000 net acres within our holdings that we consider the core of the play," she wrote in an email.

Most of the land that will be sold is in Wilson County, where there is currently no drilling activity, Ms. Warren said.

Chief Operating Officer Dave Roberts said at a conference Monday that Marathon plans to spend about $1.6 billion a year in the Eagle Ford, close to one-third of its capital-spending budget, over the next five years. Marathon estimates that by 2016, its net production in the Eagle Ford will be 120,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day--up from 21,000 net barrels of oil equivalent a day during the second quarter.

Marathon entered the Eagle Ford shale in 2010 and currently holds about 325,000 acres there.

RBC Capital Markets analysts wrote in a note Monday that the sale was in line with Marathon's previously announced plans to divest some assets and concentrate its acreage.

"The noncore Eagle Ford assets are a combination of gassier and lower productive oil areas in the trend but still should garner some interest," they wrote.


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