Flightglobal  Jul 12  Comment 
Lion Air Group's MRO unit, Batam Aero Technic (BAT), has been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration as a Part 145 repair station for the Boeing 737.
Motley Fool  Jul 8  Comment 
Oil prices and analysts weighed on the oil driller’s stock last month.
Flightglobal  Jul 6  Comment 
US maintenance provider StandardAero has entered into exclusive negotiations with Airbus for the acquisition of Canada-based Vector Aerospace.
Flightglobal  Jun 26  Comment 
US MRO provider AAR has signed an agreement to provide component support services to newly-revived Kuwait carrier Wataniya Airways, AAR announces on 26 June.
Flightglobal  Jun 21  Comment 
Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance will repair parts for Rolls-Royce engines beyond the Trent XWB.
Flightglobal  Jun 21  Comment 
Airbus has disclosed the six initial members of a new maintenance alliance which will capitalise on new digital capabilities being developed by the airframer.
Flightglobal  Jun 21  Comment 
SIA Engineering and GE Aviation will establish a joint venture to maintain GE90 and GE9X engines.
Flightglobal  Jun 12  Comment 
EasyJet has contracted Swiss MRO provider SR Technics to overhaul thrust reversers on Airbus A320ceo-family aircraft.
Benzinga  Jun 8  Comment 
Mike Khouw said on CNBC's "Options Action" that he noticed unusually high options activity in Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO). The stock dropped 5.2 percent on Wednesday, but the call options volume was twice the average daily call options...


Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) is a global integrated energy company that drills for, refines and sells oil and natural gas . Although the company sells some of the crude oil that it produces to other refineries, it makes most of its money from the sale of its finished petroleum products (gasoline, lubricants, heating oil) to resellers and to consumers through its own retail locations. The critical shortage of refining capacity within the U.S., where strict environmental regulations have prevented the construction of new refineries since 1976, and growing oil demand have supported healthy refining and marketing margins in recent years. Moreover, as oil prices have continued to rise, labor and technologically intensive projects such as deep sea drilling and oil sands have become more economically feasible. The company earned $53 billion in revenue and $1.5 billion in net income in 2009.[1]

Company Overview

Steady increases in global crude prices affects Marathon in a two-fold manner; higher crude prices benefits its E&P segment which sells crude to refineries, however, their refineries incur higher operating expenses as a result. Marathon's operations include a seven-plant refining network with 974,000 barrels per day of crude oil throughput. With the majority of the business generated from the R&M segment, Marathon must ensure that its refineries remain in top condition.

Business Segments[2]

  • Exploration and Production (E&P) - explores for, produces and markets liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas on a worldwide basis.
  • Oil Sands Mining (OSM) - mines, extracts and transports bitumen from oil sands deposits in Alberta, Canada, and upgrades the bitumen to produce and market synthetic crude oil and vacuum gas oil.
  • Integrated Gas (IG) - markets and transports products manufactured from natural gas, such as liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) and methanol, on a worldwide basis.
  • (Refining, Marketing, and Transportation (RM&T) - refines, transports and markets crude oil and petroleum products, primarily in the Midwest, upper Great Plains, Gulf Coast and southeastern regions of the United States.

Business Growth

FY 2009 (ended December 31, 2009)[1]

  • Net revenue fell 30% to $53 billion. The company attributes part of the loss to declining crude oil prices, which averaged $62.09/barrel, compared to $99.75/barrel in the previous year. Revenues in all of the company's business segments fell by more than 30%.
  • Net income fell 59% to $1.5 billion.

Trends and Forces

Focus on Upstream Growth

Although Marathon is small compared to Exxon Mobil (XOM) or ChevronTexaco (CVX), it is focused on growing its upstream E&P segment to reap the profits of a high-price oil environment. Marathon is choosing focus on developing a large presence in select geographic areas with proven trends in Norway, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and the Gulf of Mexico.

Jumping on the Ethanol Bandwagon

Marathon is well-poised to benefit from a rise in ethanol, which is becoming an increasingly attractive oil alternative due to the fundamental rise in oil prices. Marathon formed a 50/50 joint venture to coruct and operate ethanol plants, the first of which will be located in Greenville, Ohio. Marathon is already quite experienced with ethanol blending with 15 years of experience underneath its belt. [3]

Fluctuating oil prices

Higher oil prices translate into higher profits for Marathon, but market fluctuations make it difficult to know for certain what the oil outlook will be like.

The market price for oil depends largely on world oil supply, so the actions of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have a huge impact on oil prices. OPEC accounts for approximately 40% of the world's crude oil supply and can increase or decrease the amount of oil on the market to maintain attractive oil prices for its member countries. However, OPEC has been increasingly losing control over the oil market--oversupply from non-OPEC production has cut away at OPEC's influence.

Oil prices may also be hurt the recent spike in interest towards alternative fuels like ethanol (see below, Alternative Energy). Together with oversupply and loss of OPEC control, competing alternative fuels could force a downturn in oil prices. A slowdown in economic growth could also reduce demand for energy and lower oil prices.

Alternative energy threat

The rise of petroleum prices has been slowly countered by the increasing financial feasibility of alternative energy replacements for traditional oil products. Alternative energy is still some years off from widespread adoption; alternative energy challenges like low production volume, low of production efficiency, and lack of infrastructure (some new fuels require distribution infrastructure separate from existing oil pipelines) all have yet to be overcome. However, energy sources such as ethanol, solar or wind end up taking off, the negative impact on the oil and gas industry could be huge.


Companies in the oil and energy sector operate and compete with each other in different areas, such as chemicals, refining, oil exploration, etc. Marathon faces direct competition from companies, such as:


  1. 1.0 1.1 MRO 2009 10-K "Selected Financial Data" pg. 39
  2. MRO 2009 10-K "Segment and Geographic Information" pg. 2-22
  3. Marathon Oil Plans Ethanol Venture
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