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Marathon Oil Corp. Pledges $1 Million to UW
April 3, 2012 — Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO), celebrating its 100th year in Wyoming and 125th anniversary as a company, today (Tuesday) announced a $1 million gift commitment to the University of Wyoming to further improve UW's academic and research offerings in alignment with the needs of the state's energy industry.
The announcement was made during a ceremony at the UW College of Business atrium. Speakers included Jim Bowzer, Marathon Oil vice president of North American production operations; UW President Tom Buchanan, UW School of Energy Resources Director Mark Northam and UW Foundation President Ben Blalock.
"This kind of commitment goes a long way toward strengthening Wyoming's energy industry and will continue the University of Wyoming's leadership in energy research," Gov. Matt Mead says. "I thank Marathon for their investment in Wyoming and our state's future."
Marathon Oil's gift will be doubled to $2 million with funds allocated by the governor and the Wyoming State Legislature during the recent session. The matching funds help UW pursue partnerships, which will lead to the distinction of its energy programs in critical areas of strategic importance to Wyoming's energy economy -- areas that are essential to the nation's financial future. Through distinction, UW strives to achieve core recruiting school status with a broad group of industry partners.
UW's strategic plan for energy programs focuses on three areas: unconventional reservoirs, climbing the value chain and renewable resources. "Climbing the value chain" means adding steps in Wyoming's chain of natural gas production and coal production to mitigate boom-and-bust cycles. Research into renewable resources includes increasing efficiency so that such resources are more cost effective.
"This contribution to the University of Wyoming is consistent with Marathon Oil's focus on supporting key educational initiatives in communities where we operate," Bowzer says. "In this case, the community is Wyoming, where our company has had the privilege of operating for 100 years. We understand and fully support UW's efforts to advance key energy research activities in support of the state's and our industry's efforts to meet growing energy needs, while creating jobs, economic growth and securing our nation's energy future."
The partnership with Marathon Oil will support research into the extraction of energy resources from unconventional reservoirs. Research programs within the center include reservoir geomechanics and hydraulic fracturing, characterization and flow, drilling and completions, and improved recovery. For this research, the center will focus on increasing faculty expertise, research facilities and outreach. The announcement with Marathon Oil is the first of several public-private partnerships totaling $30 million that are being pursued.
Because Wyoming's economy is largely based upon natural resource extraction, this research has direct implications for the future of the state and its citizens. Significant new oil and gas reserves within Wyoming are projected to be discovered in tight rock formations, and incremental improvements to production represent major new revenue streams to the state.
"Quite simply, UW wouldn't be a leader in energy research and education today without the tremendous support of our partners in the Wyoming Legislature, state government and energy industry," Buchanan says. "Marathon's gift continues a tradition of collaboration between industry and university research to equip UW students with the state-of-the-art know-how required to solve the energy challenges facing Wyoming and the world."
Marathon Oil is once again renewing its commitment to UW energy programs, confirming that Wyoming's university is on the right track for the future of Wyoming and its citizens.
This support represents Marathon's second major contribution to UW. In 2008, a $1 million gift, also doubled by the state of Wyoming, was given to support the Energy Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art research and collaboration facility that will help the School of Energy Resources and its various centers of excellence realize their full potential.
The 2008 gift also supports the College of Engineering and Applied Science Student Services Center and the Department of Geology and Geophysics Rocky Mountain Field Camp.
"The important corporate partnership that UW has enjoyed with Marathon for years is now being elevated to a new level," Blalock says. "Marathon's leadership gift in this exciting new phase of UW's energy programs is a clear statement that UW is shoulder-to-shoulder with our energy partners, and Marathon has worked closely with UW in shaping the university's plans for advancing teaching and research in the area of unconventional reservoirs. Once again, Marathon is investing in UW excellence, and we greatly appreciate our Marathon partners."
UW is committed to the continued advancement of its energy-related teaching, research, and outreach programs through corporate partnerships. The goal of UW's strategic plan for energy programs includes commitments totaling $15 million from corporate partners to take advantage of the $15 million in state matching funds.
Marathon Oil Corp. is an independent international exploration and production company. Based in Houston, Texas, Marathon Oil had net proved reserves at the end of 2011 of 1.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent in North America, Europe and Africa. For more information, visit the company's website at http://www.marathonoil.com.