This excerpt taken from the MRO 10-K filed Mar 1, 2007.
We invest in natural gas technology research, including gas-to-liquids ("GTL") technology which offers the ability to convert natural gas into premium fuels. In addition to GTL, we continue to evaluate application of gas technologies accessible through licenses, including methanol-to-power and compressed natural gas. We also continue to develop a
proprietary gas-to-fuels ("GTF") technology, which can be configured to convert natural gas resources into premium fuels.
The above discussion of the integrated gas segment contains forward looking statements with respect to the timing and levels of production associated with the LNG production facility and the possible expansion thereof. Factors that could affect the LNG production facility include unforeseen problems arising from commissioning of the facilities, unforeseen hazards such as weather conditions and other operating considerations such as shipping the LNG. In addition to these factors, other factors that could potentially affect the possible expansion of the current LNG production facility and the development of additional LNG capacity through additional projects include partner approvals, access to sufficient natural gas volumes through exploration or commercial negotiations with other resource owners and access to sufficient regasification capacity. The foregoing factors (among others) could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Strong competition exists in all sectors of the oil and gas industry and, in particular, in the exploration and development of new reserves. We compete with major integrated and independent oil and gas companies, as well as national oil companies, for the acquisition of oil and natural gas leases and other properties. We compete with these companies for the equipment and labor required to develop and operate those properties and in the marketing of oil and natural gas to end-users. Many of our competitors have financial and other resources greater than those available to us. Acquiring the more attractive exploration opportunities frequently requires competitive bids involving front-end bonus payments or commitments-to-work programs. We also compete in attracting and retaining personnel, including geologists, geophysicists and other specialists. Based on industry sources, we currently rank ninth among U.S.-based petroleum companies on the basis of 2005 worldwide liquid hydrocarbon and natural gas production.
We must also compete with a large number of other companies to acquire crude oil for refinery processing and in the distribution and marketing of a full array of petroleum products. We rank fifth among U.S. petroleum companies on the basis of U.S. crude oil refining capacity as of December 31, 2006. We compete in four distinct markets wholesale, spot, branded and retail distribution for the sale of refined products. We believe we compete with about 40 companies in the wholesale distribution of petroleum products to private brand marketers and large commercial and industrial consumers; about 70 companies in the sale of petroleum products in the spot market; nine refiner/marketers in the supply of branded petroleum products to dealers and jobbers; and approximately 260 petroleum product retailers in the retail sale of petroleum products. We compete in the convenience store industry through SSA's retail outlets. The retail outlets offer consumers gasoline, diesel fuel (at selected locations) and a broad mix of other merchandise and services. Some locations also have on-premises brand-name restaurants such as Subway. We also compete in the travel center industry through our 50 percent ownership in PTC.
Our operating results are affected by price changes in crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products, as well as changes in competitive conditions in the markets we serve. Generally, results from production operations benefit from higher crude oil and natural gas prices while the refining and wholesale marketing gross margin may be adversely affected by crude oil price increases. Price differentials between sweet and sour crude oil also affect operating results. Market conditions in the oil and gas industry are cyclical and subject to global economic and political events and new and changing governmental regulations.
On December 31, 2001, pursuant to an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization dated as of July 31, 2001, Marathon completed the Separation, in which:
As a result of the Separation, Marathon and United States Steel are separate companies and neither has any ownership interest in the other.
In connection with the Separation and pursuant to the Plan of Reorganization, Marathon and United States Steel have entered into a series of agreements governing their relationship after the Separation and providing for the allocation of tax and certain other liabilities and obligations arising from periods before the Separation. The following is a description of the material terms of two of those agreements.