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    Marathon Oil's Q2 Profits Plunge 47 Percent vs. Year Ago

    Speedway SuperAmerica gas, store sales increase.

    HOUSTON -- Marathon Oil Corp.'s second-quarter profit fell 47 percent from a year ago, but its c-store business provided a bright spot.

    The oil company's net income for the period was $413 million, compared to $774 million for the same quarter last year. Adjusted for one-time items, second-quarter earnings were $251 million, compared to $858 million, in the 2008 quarter. Quarterly revenue dropped nearly 40 percent to $13.4 billion from $22.2 billion in the April-to-June period in 2008.

    Marathon attributed the fall in profits primarily on its exploration and production operations, which in the U.S. reported a $41 million loss for the second quarter, compared with earnings of $359 million last year.

    During the second quarter, crude prices averaged $59.80 per barrel, compared with $123.80 per barrel last year.

    However, Marathon's refining, marketing and transportation operations saw a rise in second quarter earnings, to $165 million compared with $158 million last year. Profit margin on refined products increased slightly to 8.71 cents per gallon, up from 8.35 cents per gallon in the comparable quarter.

    It's Speedway SuperAmerica LLC division saw gasoline and distillate gross margin per gallon average 10.51 cents in the second quarter, compared to 8.62 cents a year ago, the company said in a statement.

    Same-store gasoline sales volume increased approximately 3 percent over the second quarter of 2008, vs. an estimated demand decline of roughly 2 percent in the company's market area in the second quarter 2009. Same-store merchandise sales increased approximately 14 percent for the same period.

    Oil companies will likely see another big drop-off in profits in the third quarter as oil prices continue to slump lower than last year, Ann Kohler, an analyst with Caris and Co., told The Associated Press. "A lot of these companies have pulled back on drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S. That could happen with Marathon," Kohler said.

    Marathon said it increased oil and natural gas production 12 percent in the second quarter, in part because of the addition of an offshore facility in Norway.

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