Marathon Oil buying back $500 million more of its shares

NEW ORLEANS, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:26pm EDT

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NEW ORLEANS, March 24 (Reuters) - Marathon Oil Corp said on Monday it will buy back an additional $500 million of its shares after it completed a $1 billion share repurchase using proceeds from the sale of interest in a block offshore Angola.

The buy back is part of Marathon's strategy to improve investor returns and grow output from oil producing fields in Texas, North Dakota and Oklahoma while selling mature assets in the North Sea.

The company's plans to accelerate drilling in the Eagle Ford, Bakken and Woodford shales is on track with 28 rigs running, Marathon Chief Executive Officer Lee Tillman told the Howard Weil energy conference on Monday.

Marathon has opened a data room for marketing its North Sea businesses in the United Kingdom and Norway and bids are due in the second quarter, the Houston company said.

The company now has $1.5 billion remaining under its current share repurchase authorization, it said.

Shares of Marathon edged down less than 1 percent, or 5 cents, to $34.34 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; writing by Anna Driver; editing by Tom Brown)

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