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Marathon Oil

Marathon Oil


Marathon has the highest concentration of women in its workforce, 51%, and the best greenhouse-gas efficiency among the top 10. It is also one of the biggest distributors of ethanol-gas blends. However, like some of its peers, it has been accused of making payments to the dictator of Equatorial Guinea. (The company has claimed it did not knowingly engage in corrupt practices or violate U.S. law.)

MANAGEMENT SCORE: 11 out of 25

Marathon has yet to disclose a vision for the future of sustainable energy. Improvements are largely production oriented, such as improving worker safety or minimizing greenhouse gases. Adel Chaouch, Marathon’s head of sustainability, would not disclose what measures of social or environmental impact Marathon reviews or whether managers’ compensation is linked to performance in those areas.

Anti-flaring Marathon (like all but Valero and Repsol among the top 10) has joined a World Bank–supported program to reduce methane flaring; methane has 21 times more of an impact on atmospheric temperatures than carbon dioxide.

Safety Marathon relies on industry guidelines from the American Petroleum Institute and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, both of which focus on sound engineering to reduce regulatory compliance costs.

Health Marathon introduced a successful malaria-eradication project in Equatorial Guinea.

IMPACT SCORE: 42 out of 100

Marathon produced 443 million barrels of oil in 2006, sending 22 million tons of greenhouse gasses into the environment, equaling 49 tons per thousand barrels—the best rate among Big Oil.

A little ethanol Marathon currently receives nearly all of its revenue from oil and gas. While it is a major distributor of ethanol-gas blends, with a current capacity of 1.2 million barrels, this has yet to account for a significant share of revenue. A $160 million ethanol facility (a joint venture with The Andersons, an agricultural company) in Greenville, Ohio, will be operational in 2008.

Female friendly Marathon leads Big Oil in gender balance at the staff level, with a workforce (including retail) that is 51% female, but ethnic diversity is below the industry average. Marathon’s 12-member board, however, is slightly more diverse than the average, with an African-American woman and one African-American man. Safety Marathon was the only firm evaluated that had zero employee or contractor deaths, but it had the worst accident rate among the U.S. companies. Exploration Marathon operates in Libya (since the 2004 lifting of trade sanctions), Indonesia, and Angola, as well as Equatorial Guinea. Even so, only 50% of its source countries are rated low on governance, giving it the second-best rating.