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Exceptional performance lends Marathon Oil the energy to do more

Article - August 5, 2014
The growing success Marathon Oil has enjoyed since it established operations in Equatorial Guinea in 2002 has not only allowed the company to expand its business activities, but also to expand its community investment efforts through its CSR programs, particularly in the fight against malaria.
THANKS TO INVESTMENTS FROM THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS TOTALING SOME $50 MILLION, MALARIA TRANSMISSION IS DOWN BY WELL OVER 50% IN CHILDREN BETWEEN TWO AND 14 YEARS OLD
Last year was a very successful year for Marathon Oil in Equatorial Guinea. The Houston-based firm holds a 63% working interest in the offshore Alba gas field, a 52% equity interest in the Alba liquefied petroleum gas plant, a 45% equity interest in Atlantic Methanol Production Company LLC (AMPCO), and a 60% equity interest in a liquefied natural gas production facility on Bioko Island. Gas sales were up in 2013 compared to the prior year, allied with world-class operational availability of 99% and operational and safety excellence.

Marathon Oil Regional Vice President Cathy Krajicek attributed the company’s “exceptional performance” in the country last year to “efficient management of operations and maintenance activities and a testament to the high performing team we have assembled in Equatorial Guinea.”

Driven by the success it has enjoyed in the West African nation in recent years, Marathon Oil decided to undertake two exciting new projects that will further strengthen its position in the region. The first is a compression platform which was sanctioned in December 2012 to extend the life of the Alba field.

“The scope of the project is to install a new offshore platform that will hold two new compression trains and tie into the existing Alba field infrastructure. The execution phase of the project commenced in January 2013, with offshore installation planned for late 2015 or early 2016. It is expected to be operational in mid-2016,” says Ms. Krajicek.

The second project sees Marathon Oil expand its upstream activities beyond the Alba field, with the signing of a production sharing contract for the exploration of Block A12. Lying adjacent to Alba, Marathon Oil holds an 80% stake in Block A12, with Equatorial Guinea’s national oil company GEPetrol holding the remaining 20%.

“Block A12 represents an exciting exploration opportunity for Marathon Oil to add to its portfolio in Equatorial Guinea,” says Ms. Krajicek. “We are excited by the overall prospects of Block A12, and further decisions on exploration will be taken after [the first] planned exploration wells are drilled.

“Marathon oil is committed to improving medical facilities and schools in equatorial guinea, and 2013 was equally successful with respect to progression of our community support projects”

Catherine Krajicek,
Resident Manager of
Marathon Oil

----------------------------

In the last decade, the bioko island malaria control project (bimcp) has dramatically reduced the number of malaria cases on bioko island and improved public health and wellbeing for island residents
“Once the results of these wells are analyzed, a decision will be made on further exploration, which could include drilling appraisal wells on any discoveries as well as further potential exploration wells. The company is keen to integrate learning from the currently planned exploration wells into the analysis of the area as a whole as part of the exploration process.”

Beyond its substantial business operations in Equatorial Guinea, Marathon Oil has invested millions back into the local community. The year 2013 was not only a successful year for the business, but also for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. “Marathon Oil is committed to improving medical facilities and schools in Equatorial Guinea, and 2013 was equally successful with respect to progression of our community support projects,” explains the Regional Vice President.

International energy companies have been instrumental in supporting efforts to eradicate malaria in sub-Saharan Africa; and one of the most important CSR initiatives that Marathon Oil is involved in is the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP).

BIMCP: extending a decade of life-saving results

Although the U.S. was declared free of malaria in 1949, the disease still afflicts millions of people worldwide. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 627,000 people – mainly children in sub-Saharan Africa – died in 2012 after being bitten by mosquitoes carrying malaria parasites that infected their red blood cells. The most vulnerable people have the highest risk of succumbing to malaria: children under five years of age, pregnant women and people with HIV/AIDs.

Historically, one of the areas that has been most significantly affected by malaria is Bioko Island, located 20 miles off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. Ten years ago, the island of more than 250,000 residents had one of the highest rates of malaria transmission in the world, and the infectious disease accounted for more than one-third of all deaths on Bioko Island.

Additionally, children and adults who survived a bout of malaria frequently suffered relapses of malarial fever, anemia and other symptoms.

Saving lives on Bioko Island

Over the past 10 years, the BIMCP has dramatically reduced the number of malaria cases on Bioko Island and improved public health and wellbeing for island residents. Established in 2003, the project is a unique public-private partnership of oil and gas companies led by the Marathon Oil Corporation, the private non-governmental organization Medical Care Development International (MCDI), and the government of Equatorial Guinea. Together, the partners committed to working toward reducing illnesses and death caused by malaria by limiting and ultimately eliminating malaria transmission.

From 2003-2013, the partners pioneered an integrated intervention program that has transformed malaria control efforts around the world. Project data collected and analyzed on all facets of malaria control and treatment have become the benchmark in global malaria elimination efforts. The project’s successes and challenges have been widely shared through scientific publications and the press.

In 2013, the BIMCP celebrated its 10th anniversary. As a result of government and partner investments totaling approximately $50 million, malaria transmission is down by well over 50% in children two to 14 years old, and deaths among children under age five have declined by 65%. Improved health and wellbeing is helping to reduce the economic burden of malaria on Bioko Island.

Today, the business partners include Marathon Oil, Noble Energy, AMPCO, GEPetrol and SONAGAS. In 2013, they agreed along with the government of Equatorial Guinea to extend the project through 2018, with the focus on the continued use of standard anti-malaria control measures. Additionally, the business partners and EG LNG are participating in trials of a promising vaccine designed to block the transmission of malaria.

Developed by Maryland-based Sanaria Inc., the PfSPZ Vaccine product has recently been shown to confer 100% protection against malaria in a small number of volunteers. This breakthrough result is the foundation for a clinical development plan that will be implemented in conjunction with an international consortium of institutions and organizations that will jointly contribute to the effort to license the PfSPZ Vaccine. The Equatorial Guinea Malaria Vaccine Initiative will run four trials between 2014 and 2017, with the hope of obtaining product licensure by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration thereafter, and running an elimination campaign in Equatorial Guinea with the licensed PfSPZ Vaccine.

As one of the longest sustained malaria control programs in recent history, the BIMCP project has had profound positive impacts and continues to significantly contribute to the worldwide fight against malaria. The partners are proud of the life-saving results of the BIMCP and the possibility that the continuation of the BIMCP and the vaccine trials beginning in 2014 will someday eliminate malaria from the island once and for all.

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