Marathon Oil CEO Lee Tillman. Image courtesy of Marathon Oil/Youtube.

Marathon Oil said Wednesday it will cut its capital, investment and exploration budget by another $1 billion after reporting a $93 million fourth quarter operating loss.

The Houston-based company now plans to spend $3.5 billion drilling for oil and gas this year, a 50 percent drop from the $6.7 billion it spent in 2014.

Marathon had previously set its 2015 spend at between $4.3 billion and $4.5 billion after a 20 percent cut.

The company will focus nearly 70 percent of its budget on the Eagle Ford, Bakken and Oklahoma Resource Basins plays.

Marathon has earmarked $1.4 billion in capital spending for the Eagle Ford play, including $1 billion for drilling and completion, $760 million in the Bakken and $226 million for the Oklahoma Resource Basins.

The company expects its Eagle Ford rig count to drop from 18 in late 2014 to 10 by the end of the second quarter.

Drilling activity in Bakken will be reduced by two rigs by the end of the first quarter, down from seven rigs at the end of 2014.

“With continued uncertainty in commodity pricing, Marathon Oil has taken decisive action to protect our optionality and position us to be a stronger E&P in the long term,” Marathon CEO Lee Tillman said.

Marathon saw its fourth quarter 2014 operating income plummet to a loss of $93 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, a significant drop from the $136 million operating income booked during the same period in 2013.

The company reported a fourth quarter net income of $926 million, up from $375 million booked during the fourth quarter in 2013.

Marathon has set its 2015 net production forecast at 370,000 to 390,000 net barrels of oil equivalent per day, excluding Libya.



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