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Marathon and Partners Announce $28 Million, 5-Year Extension of Life Saving Malaria Control Project in Equatorial Guinea

Bioko Island Malaria Control Project extended; already achieved 50 percent

reduction of malaria parasites in highest risk population

HOUSTON, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) announced today that the Government of Equatorial Guinea, Marathon, Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL), GEPetrol and SONAGAS, are extending their successful Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP) in Equatorial Guinea. The innovative private-public partnership has committed to investing an additional $28 million to continue its malaria control initiative through 2013.

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One-third of the project funds will be a direct investment by the Government of Equatorial Guinea, and the remaining two-thirds has been committed by Marathon, Noble Energy and business partners.

The announced extension project brings total spending on malaria control in Equatorial Guinea to $71 million. The BIMCP began in 2003 as a five-year, $15.8-million initiative to address the burden of disease attributable to malaria on the population of Bioko Island. The project has focused on vector control through indoor residual spraying, distribution of free drugs to high risk populations such as pregnant women and children under the age of 15, and a comprehensive monitoring and surveillance program; universal bed net coverage was added in 2007. In 2006, the BIMCP was expanded to the mainland of Equatorial Guinea through a multi-year commitment by the Global Fund totaling $26 million and an additional Marathon Foundation grant of $1 million, making this program the only integrated malaria control project with nationwide coverage in Africa.

"The Bioko Island Malaria Control Project demonstrates Marathon's commitment to the communities where we operate and where we live," said Clarence P. Cazalot, Jr., Marathon president and CEO. "Our support for extending and scaling up this initiative for another five years reflects our dedication to improving the wellbeing of the citizens of Equatorial Guinea. We commend the Government of Equatorial Guinea for encouraging the creation of this successful private-public partnership that provides social benefits and makes a significant difference in the lives of Equatoguineans."

The extension of this initiative through 2013 is aimed at leveraging already documented project success and accelerating the attainment of project goals. The effort will remain focused on capacity building of the national team to achieve long-term sustainability.

"By bringing together an integrated team of companies from the private sector, leading health specialists, and Equatorial Guinea's Ministry of Health and Social Wellbeing, we have created a successful partnership and a malaria intervention model for the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa," said His Excellency Obiang Nguema Mbasogo President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. "We have responded to the call to action presented by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon by extending our malaria control program for an additional five years. I hope my country's commitment will inspire others to commit to the fight against malaria so one day Africa will be malaria free."

As the BIMCP enters its fifth year in 2008, it has already achieved life saving results (based on annual household surveys):

-- 50 percent reduction in the number of children aged 2 to 15 infected with malaria parasites,

-- 85 percent reduction in reported malaria cases in government health facilities,

-- 95 percent reduction in the number of mosquitoes infected with the malaria parasite based on specimens collected from window traps, and

-- 73 percent of children aged 2 to 15 reported sleeping under an insecticide treated bed net the night before the surveys, exceeding the Abuja Declaration targets.

The $28 million co-investment will jump-start a capital campaign orchestrated by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, Malaria No More and the UN Foundation which leverages the leadership of the world's most prominent business leaders to raise $100 million by the end of 2010.

"Thanks to Marathon Oil Corporation's commitment, malaria is in retreat in Equatorial Guinea," said Global Business Coalition Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart. "They already have nearly wiped out the disease on Bioko Island. This co-investment will produce an even deeper, closer and better financed partnership. There's every reason to believe this will keep people more healthy throughout the entire country. I hope governments around the world are paying attention. Business is ready to be your partner in this fight. We know this works."

According to estimates from international organizations, prior to the BIMCP, malaria accounted for approximately 40 percent of all deaths among children under the age of 5 and a comparable high percentage of all illnesses on Bioko Island. Marathon and its partners consulted global public health experts, who concluded that a dramatic reduction in malaria transmission would significantly improve the health status of the population and reduce the heavy economic burden associated with the disease, thus contributing to economic development in the country.

In an effort to build the strong institutional configuration necessary to assure the success of such a complex undertaking, Marathon, Noble Energy and business partners teamed up with the Government of Equatorial Guinea through the Ministry of Health and Social Wellbeing to select an implementation team that now includes leading health specialists from Medical Care Development International (MCDI), One World Development Group, the Medical Research Council of South Africa, the Harvard School of Public Health, Yale University, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Texas A&M University, and local and international chapters of the Red Cross.

GEPetrol was established in 2001 as the National Oil Company of Equatorial Guinea. GEPetrol has upstream interests through participation in petroleum contracts with foreign oil companies, including the Alba field, but the LNG project is the company's first venture into the downstream business. GEPetrol operates as a commercial entity alongside the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, which is the State regulatory authority.

Sociedad Nacional de Gas de Guinea Ecuatorial (SONAGAS, G.E) is the state-owned natural gas company responsible for all gas related projects in Equatorial Guinea.

Noble Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production. The Company operates primarily in the Rocky Mountains, Mid-Continent, and deepwater Gulf of Mexico areas in the United States, with key international operations offshore Israel, UK and West Africa.

Marathon is an integrated international energy company engaged in exploration and production; oil sands mining; integrated gas; and refining, marketing and transportation operations. Marathon has principal operations in the United States, Angola, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Indonesia, Ireland, Libya, Norway and the United Kingdom. Marathon is the fourth largest United States-based integrated oil company and the nation's fifth largest refiner.

Media Relations Contacts: Lee Warren 713-296-4103

Paul Weeditz 713-296-3910

Investor Relations Contacts: Howard Thill 713-296-4140

Chris Phillips 713-296-3213

Michol Ecklund 713-296-3919

SOURCE Marathon Oil Corporation
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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