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    Marathon Oil Seeks Russian Adventure

    Refiner and marketer forms alliance with Russia's second-biggest oil company.

    Enon, Ohio-based Marathon Oil Co., a unit of USX Corp., said Thursday it had agreed to enter into a strategic alliance with Russia's second biggest oil company, YUKOS.

    Both companies want to expand internationally and the alliance is expected to involve joint energy investments in different parts of the world, YUKOS said in a statement.

    "The planned alliance with Marathon is aimed at expansion of our international business and is an important step in our strategy of becoming a leading international energy company," YUKOS Chief Executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky said.

    The companies intend to set up a joint business development group in London to examine international investment opportunities as part of the alliance.

    Marathon, which operates more than 2,500 convenience stores in the United States through its Speedway SuperAmerica LLC marketing arm, has had no interests in Russia since it sold its 37.5 stake in the Sakhalin II oil project to Royal Dutch/Shell in December 2000.

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