Marathon Oil: 42% of 2016 Budget to Stay in the Eagle Ford

Marathon Oil Q4 2015
Marathon Oil Q4 2015

Marathon Oil plans a 50% decrease in its 2016 spending while maintaining a focus on its Eagle Ford operations.

Related: Marathon Oil in the Eagle Ford

This last week, executives with Marathon Oil announced their 2015 fourth quarter and full year results while laying out their capital spending plans for the remainder of 2016. For the full year, the company reported an adjusted net loss of $869 million with overall production growth for the year increasing 8%.

Eagle Ford Operations

Production for Marathon's operations in the Eagle Ford Shale region averaged 128,000 net boed in the fourth quarter, a decline from 131,000 net boed from the same quarter one year ago, which officials say is a result of the decrease in drilling and completion activity. Other Eagle Ford highlights include:

  • 76 gross (44 net) wells brought to sales compared to 57 gross (45 net) in the previous quarter
    • 25 in the Austin Chalk
    • Eight in the upper Eagle Ford
    • 43 in the lower Eagle Ford,
    • Efficiency gains in drilling
      • Wells drilled at an average rate of 2,175 feet per day (2,000 ft per day in Q3)
      • Spud-to-total depth of 9 days (10 days in Q3)
      • The top-performing Eagle Ford rigs drilled two wells in excess of 3,100 feet per day

For 2016, Marathon plans to spend $1.4 billion with $600 million set aside for Eagle Ford. Most of that amount, ($520 million) will be used for drilling and completions. 2016 highlights include

  • Continue focusing on development of the Upper and Lower Eagle Ford and the Austin Chalk
  • The Company expects to bring 124-132 gross Company-operated wells to sales in the Eagle Ford with an average of five rigs in 2016
We are down to seven rigs, and we will be scaling down further to five rigs near the end of the first quarter. Additionally, we will be reducing to a single frac crew for much of the year that will match drilling activity. A continued focus on enhancing well productivity through stimulation design and technology application has recently yielded encouraging early results in our high-GOR [Gas/Oil Ratio] oil areas. As this activity matures, we anticipate sharing more details throughout the year.
— Lance W. Robertson - VP North America Production Operations

Marathon's Full Year 2015 highlights:

  • Full-year 2015 capital program at $3 billion, $500 million below original budget
  • Achieved 8% production growth from total Company continuing operations (excluding Libya) and 21% from U.S. resource plays year over year
  • Decreased E&P production and total Company adjusted G&A expenses by more than $435 million, or 24%, year over year
  • Completed 20% reduction in workforce to generate $160 million in annualized net savings
  • Reduced quarterly dividend increasing annual free cash flow by more than $425 million
  • Closed or announced non-core asset sales for approximately $315 million, excluding closing adjustments
  • Organic reserve replacement of 157%, excluding revisions and dispositions, at $12 per boe drillbit finding and development cost
  • Year-end liquidity of $4.2 billion comprised of $1.2 billion in cash and an undrawn $3 billion revolving credit facility