HOUSTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- At a time when oil companies are slashing exploration budgets, Marathon Oil said it elected a veteran upstream executive to its board of directors.
Marathon elected former Chief Executive Officer at California exploration company Aera Energy Gaurdie Banister to its board of directors, effective Oct. 1.
"We welcome Gaurdie Banister to Marathon Oil's board of directors," Dennis Reilley, Marathon Oil's non-executive chairman of the board," said in a statement. "Gaurdie brings deep exploration and production experience, including most recently in the U.S. onshore, a track record of operational excellence and astute business insights."
Banister spent eight years at the helm of Aera Energy, responsible for 25 percent of California oil production through a combined 14,000 wells. Marathon said his track record extends to upstream operations in the Asia Pacific.
West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude oil prices, near $45 per barrel is about 50 percent less than the price for this date in 2014. Marathon Oil last month joined in a string of companies focused on exploration and production to post a decline in quarterly earnings amid the oil price slump.
Paul O'Donnel, an equity analyst at IHS Energy, said the low price of crude oil, and expectations that the weak market will endure, spells trouble for companies focused on exploration and production.
Marathon reported mix production results from its U.S. operations. In North Dakota, the No. 2 oil producer in the country, the company reported a 22 percent increase in production from second quarter 2014 and a 7 percent gain from the previous quarter. In Texas, the No.1 producer, the company's net production was 32 percent higher than second quarter than 2014, but 8 percent less than first quarter 2015.