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Marathon Oil: Talks to sell 20% Alberta Oil sands stake fall through

HOUSTON -- Marathon Oil said discussions to sell its 20% outside-operated stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada, were unsuccessful and talks with a prospective buyer have been terminated.

Marathon Oil said it isn' t engaged in further talks tied to a potential sale of the assets, but it will continue to evaluate ways to grow its portfolio. It also backed its previously announced goal of divesting between $1.5 billion and $3 billion in assets from 2011 through 2013.

As of May 22, Marathon Oil has agreed upon or closed on about $1.3 billion in divestitures.

Marathon Oil in October said it was exploring a possible sale in the Alberta project, but said given the uncertainty of a transaction going through, it wasn' t included in its divestiture goal.

Marathon Oil spun off its downstream and petroleum assets in 2011 as Marathon Petroleum 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 are up in recent quarters, as production exceeded expectations.

Marathon Oil has also 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.

Earlier this month, Marathon Oil reported that its first-quarter earnings fell 8.2% as the energy company set aside more for income taxes, masking revenue growth.

Shares fell 2.9% to $34.37 in recent premarket trading. The stock is up 44% in the past 12 months.

Dow Jones Newswires




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