As the global economy sputtered, so did oil demand and Marathon. Yet the company did have an unlikely win in its refinery business, which at one point it planned to split off, before changing course in early 2009.
Marathon's highly efficient refineries are mostly based in the Midwest, making them less vulnerable to overseas competition. Though an expansion of its Garyville, La., facility came in $500 million over budget, rivals Valero and Sunoco faced punishing losses and facility shutdowns. While Marathon shed assets in Ireland and Gabon last year, it also invested in the Gulf of Mexico, Norway and Equatorial Guinea. --J.S.