Marathon Oil Corp. posted a smaller-than-expected loss on Aug. 6 as it reined in costs to cushion the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic that has crushed crude prices and sapped demand for fuel.

The oil and gas producer cut its costs and expenses by 17.2% to $975 million as the average realized price for its U.S. crude oil and condensate fell 63.4% to $21.65/bbl.

U.S. crude prices remain about 32% lower from January levels despite a recent rally, as COVID-19 drained demand and a battle for market share among the world's top producers flooded the market with oil.

However, with oil prices having rebounded from a dip into negative territory, Marathon raised its production guidance to 190,000 net bbl/d of oil at mid-point, inclusive of year-to-date curtailment. It also cut its full-year capex to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion.

Permian Basin producer Parsley Energy Inc. also narrowed its 2020 capital budget to between $650 million and $700 million from less than $700 million previously, however it did not reinstate its production guidance citing ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

Marathon's total net production for the quarter fell to 390,000 boe/d from 435,000 boe/d a year ago.

The Houston-based company reported a loss of $750 million, or 95 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from a profit of $161 million, or 20 cents per share, last year.

Excluding items, Marathon posted a loss of 60 cents per share, smaller than analysts' estimate of 63 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES, while Parsley posted a surprise profit.