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Marathon Petroleum reports lower earnings in first quarter of 2014

Scheduled maintenance idled Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s two largest refineries, plunging profit 73 percent last quarter to $199 million, the company reported Thursday.

Earnings in the January-March quarter amounted to 67 cents per share, down from $2.17 a year earlier.

Marathon Petroleum had reported earnings of $725 million for the first quarter of 2013.

Revenue was the same as a year earlier, $23.35 billion. Costs increased 3.6 percent $22.98 billion.

It was all about the maintenance at the refineries, said Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer.

“They had the biggest refinery turnaround in their history,” he said. “They had less product to sell and more cost to incur.”

Although Marathon’s refining operating costs were in line with the company’s expectations, refinery throughputs were 100,000 barrels per day lower than projected due to weather and turnaround activity during the quarter, Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger said.

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