Marathon Looking To Boost Oil Sands Output

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Marathon Oil, the Texas-based integrated oil company, is looking to more than double its oil production at an oil sands project in western Canada. The project currently produces 155,000 of thick, high-sulfur crude per day.

California-based Chevron (CVX), the second-largest U.S. oil company, and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), Europe's largest oil company, are Marathon's partners on the project.

An ongoing capacity expansion project and efforts to loosen bottlenecks should boost volumes to 340,000 barrels a day in the near future, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a Marathon (MRO) executive.

Escalating tensions in the Middle East and North Africa that have driven the price of oil to 29-month highs have turned the spotlight on other sources of oil, including Canada's oil sands region, but critics have alleged extracting crude from the oil sands is especially damaging to the environment. Canada is the top supplier of crude to the U.S.