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Marathon Oil Company - Lehman Brothers Collection

Marathon Oil Company

List of Deals

Fourteen independent oil producers founded Marathon Oil as the Ohio Oil Company in 1887 in Lima, Ohio, to compete with Standard Oil. The company was the largest producer in the state within two years. Standard Oil proceeded to buy Ohio Oil in 1889. When the U.S. Supreme Court broke up Standard Oil in 1911, Ohio Oil became independent once again and expanded its exploration activities to Kansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Wyoming.

In a 1924 attempt to drill three wells west of the Pecos River in Texas, Ohio Oil mistakenly drilled three dry holes to the east. The company was on the verge of abandoning the project until a geologist reported the error. Ohio Oil then drilled in the right area and the wells flowed. That year the company bought Lincoln Oil Refining—its first venture outside crude oil production. Ohio Oil continued to expand into refining and marketing operations.

The company began international exploration following World War II. Through Conorada Petroleum (later Oasis), a partnership with Continental Oil and Amerada Hess, the company explored in Africa and South and Central America. Conorada's biggest overseas deal came in 1955, when it acquired concessions on more than sixty million acres in Libya. In 1962 the company acquired Plymouth Oil and changed its name to Marathon Oil Company; it had been using the Marathon name in its marketing activities since the late 1930s.

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