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USX-Marathon Profits More Than Double

Oil and gas company

USX-Marathon Group

(MRO) - Get Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) Report

said Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled from the same quarter in 1999, thanks to strong oil prices and better profit margins on fuels.

Adjusted for special items, income climbed to $386 million, or $1.25 a share, up from $148 million, or 47 cents a share, in the same period in 1999.

The results came in 11 cents higher than the $1.14-a-share consensus estimate of 20 Wall Street analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The growth is attributable to turmoil in the Middle East last fall and the current energy crisis, which sent crude oil and natural gas prices sky-high in the fourth quarter of 2000.

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The company also said revenues rose to $8 billion in fourth quarter of 2000, up from $7.3 billion in the same period one year ago.

Along with

U.S. Steel

(X) - Get United States Steel Corporation Report

, which also

reported earnings Wednesday, USX-Marathon Group makes up Pittsburgh-based USX, a worldwide producer of oil, natural gas, steel and steel products.

USX-Marathon shares were down 25 cents, or 0.9%, to $27.25 in afternoon trading on the

New York Stock Exchange