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Marathon Oil (MRO) Q1 Loss Narrower than Expected

Houston, TX-based Marathon Oil Corp. MRO – a leading upstream energy firm – posted first quarter adjusted loss of 43 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate for a loss of 47 cents. The better-than-expected results came thanks to solid production (at the upper end of guidance) and cost control initiatives.

However, the bottom line deteriorated from the first-quarter 2015 adjusted loss of 37 cents amid a freefall in oil prices.

 

Quarterly revenues of $730 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $990.4 million and also plunged from the prior-year quarter level of $1,532 million.

Segmental Performance

North America E&P: Marathon Oil’s North American upstream segment reported a loss of $195 million, wider than the loss of $161 million a year ago. Lower commodity prices hampered the result, partially offset by a dip in production costs.

Marathon Oil reported production available for sale of 239,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day (BOE/d), down from 283,000 BOE/d in the first quarter of 2015. The deterioration was mainly due to reduced drilling and completion activities.

The company realized liquids (crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids) price of $24.00 per barrel, significantly lower than the year-earlier quarter level of $36.92 per barrel. Natural gas realizations decreased 33% year over year to $2.02 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf).

International E&P: The segment’s income plunged 83% year over year to just $4 million. Substantially low liquids realizations and reduced sales pulled down the profits.

Marathon Oil – which spun off its refining/sales business into a separate, independent and publicly traded company Marathon Petroleum Corp. MPC in 2011 – reported production available for sale (excluding Libya) of 100,000 BOE/d, down from the 119,000 BOE/d in the first quarter of 2015. The decline in output in Equatorial Guinea on the back of planned turnaround activities and repairs at its Brae Alpha installation in the U.K. hampered growth.

The company realized liquids price of $22.66 per barrel, a 39% drop from the year-earlier quarter level of $37.31 per barrel. Moreover, natural gas realizations fell 23% year over year to 60 cents per thousand cubic feet (Mcf).

Oil Sands Mining: Marathon’s Oil Sands Mining segment recorded a loss of $48 million compared with loss of $19 million in the year-ago quarter. The underperformance stemmed from lower Synthetic Crude Oil realizations, which came in at $26.41 per barrel, down 35% from $40.37 per barrel a year ago.

Synthetic crude oil sales volumes in the oil sands business was 49,000 barrels per day, essentially flat from the prior-year quarter level of 50,000 barrels per day.

Costs & Expenses

The company’s exploration expenses for the quarter came at $24 million, significantly lower than $90 million in the year-earlier quarter. Moreover, Marathon Oil’s total quarterly cost and expenses fell 30% to 1,328 million.

Capital Expenditure

During the reported quarter, Marathon Oil spent $359 million on capital programs (97% was on E&P), 67% less than the $1,102 million incurred a year ago. As oil prices look set to expand their almost 2-year rout, major energy companies are chopping costs in an effort to shore up dwindling cash flows.

Late last year Marathon Oil became the first major shale producer to cut dividend and was subsequently followed by major producers like Anadarko Petroleum Corp. APC and ConocoPhillips COP.

Guidance

Marathon Oil expects second-quarter 2016 North America E&P output available for sale in the range of 220,000–230,000 BOE/d, International E&P (excluding Libya) output in the range of 115,000–125,000 BOE/d and Oil Sands Mining output of 40,000–45,000 BOE/d.

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ANADARKO PETROL (APC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CONOCOPHILLIPS (COP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MARATHON OIL CP (MRO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MARATHON PETROL (MPC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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