Marathon Oil Corp. reduced gross debt by $500 million through a recent redemption transaction on March 30 that CEO Lee Tillman said represents a “swift follow-through” on a 2021 goal.

“This action is a strong step toward ensuring at least 30% of our cash flow from operations is directed toward investor friendly purposes,” Tillman, chairman, president and CEO of Marathon Oil, said in a statement. “It is also consistent with our objective to continue improving our investment-grade balance sheet through gross debt reduction and fully addresses our next significant debt maturity.”

According to a company release on March 30, Marathon Oil had sent an irrevocable notice of its intention to fully redeem its currently outstanding $500 million aggregate principal amount of 2.8% senior notes due 2022. The company said the transaction will reduce gross debt by $500 million and annual cash interest expense by $14 million.

“We continue to believe maintaining a strong balance sheet is foundational to successfully executing our strategy of sustainable free cash flow generation and meaningful return of capital to investors across a wide range of commodity prices,” Tillman added in the statement.

Based in Houston, Marathon Oil is active in oil-rich resource plays, such as the Eagle Ford in Texas, the Bakken in North Dakota, the STACK and SCOOP in Oklahoma, and the Permian Basin in New Mexico. The company also has international operations in Equatorial Guinea.