Jan 29 Marathon Petroleum Corp, the
third-largest stand-alone U.S. refining company, posted a 17
percent drop in quarterly profit on Wednesday due to shrinking
crude discounts and rising maintenance costs.
For the fourth quarter, Marathon reported net income of $626
million, or $2.07 per share, compared with $755 million, or
$2.24 per share, in the year-ago period.
The difference between the price of West Texas Intermediate
crude oil and Light Louisiana Sweet crude oil
shrunk by $17.72 per barrel from the year-ago quarter, squeezing
Refiners make more money when the price difference between
various types of crude oil is wide. When the gap narrows, costs
tend to rise, eroding profit.
Marathon's maintenance costs for its refineries and other
properties more than doubled during the quarter.