Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) has just announced that it’s increasing its exploration, investment, and capital budget for next year. This year’s budget was $4.8 billion, and next year it will go up to $5.2 billion. Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) said it will spend most of its budget in unconventional U.S. oil fields, like Oklahoma’s Anadarko Woodford and North Dakota’s Bakken.
Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO)’s Eagle Ford has become one of the world’s most productive oil fields, and the company said it will spend almost $2 billion of its budget there. Last year it spent about half of its budget at Eagle Ford. Other investments the company intends to make in 2013 are in Kurdistan, the Canadian oil sands, and Angola. In addition, Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) said it will take part in exploratory drilling for at least 10 wells in places it believes could be oil-rich.
The company said it expects all of its added activity for 2013 to increase its total production by 6 to 8 percent. Last month, Marathon Oil posted strong third-quarter earnings, which increased 11 percent, thanks to strong international and domestic oil production.
In afternoon trading, shares of Marathon Oil were down close to 2 percent. Analysts at Barclays said they believe that today’s news is neutral for shares of the company’s stock. Barclays analysts have kept their stock rating on Marathon Oil unchanged at Equal Rate, They’re also keeping their industry view as positive and holding their $33 price target.
Marathon Oil isn’t the only oil company making the news lately. As ValueWalk covered back in October, Dan Loeb has voiced his interest in expanding his holding in Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR). He also has suggested spin-offs that he believed might improve the company’s stock pricing by as much as 60 percent.
Just two weeks after Loeb’s suggestion, Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) announced a spin-off and a special dividend, which was set to pay out yesterday. With that spin-off, Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) began moving toward becoming the third U.S. integrated oil and gas company to “dis-integrate” in the last two years, after Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).