NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Marathon Petroleum (MPC) - Get Report were declining on heavy trading volume late Thursday afternoon after the petroleum refiner said it has hired advisers to help it evaluate strategic opportunities for its master limited partnership MPLX (MPLX).

Marathon plans to offer MPLX assets that generate about $350 million of EBITDA by the end of 2017, after which it could dropdown assets with an estimated $1 billion of EBITDA, according to a company statement.

The company also reported financial results for the 2016 third quarter before today's market open. 

Marathon Petroleum reported adjusted earnings of 58 cents per share, missing the FactSet consensus of 81 cents per share. 

Revenue declined to $16.56 billion from $18.76 billion a year ago and fell short of analysts' estimates of $17.40 billion.

About 11.16 million shares of Marathon Petroleum have been traded so far today, well above the company's average trading volume of roughly 5.60 million shares a day.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates the stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of B-.

Marathon Petroleum's strengths such as its attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: MPC

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author. 

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