Marathon Oil Cuts Capital Budget After Posting Quarterly Loss


Aug 2 (Reuters) - U.S. oil producer Marathon Oil Corp cuts its 2017 capital budget on Wednesday after posting a quarterly loss that fell in line with Wall Street's expectations.

Marathon, which pumps from the Permian, Bakken and other major U.S. shale fields, was the latest in a string of oil producers to trim spending plans as crude prices have yet to hit levels expected when budgets were set earlier this year.

Still, Marathon said its use of new technology and processes should help it pump more this year, and the company raised its forecast for shale production.

Shares rose 1.9 percent to $12.27 in after-hours trading.

"Our operational momentum has us well positioned to continue our sequential growth in the resource plays into 2018, with an objective to live within cash flows," Chief Executive Lee Tillman said in a statement.

For the second quarter, the company posted a net loss of $139 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with $170 million, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding one-time items, the company lost 15 cents per share. That loss matched analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Houston-based company cut its 2017 capital budget to a range of $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion. Marathon previously had said it would spend $2.4 billion this year.

Production, excluding Libya operations, rose about 2 percent to 349,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

For the year, Marathon said its production in the United States, where it operates across four major shale basins, should rise 23 percent to 27 percent this year, up from a prior forecast for a 20 percent to 25 percent increase.

The company plans to hold a conference call with investors on Thursday to discuss the quarterly results.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Tom Brown)


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