(Adds forecast, compares with estimates)
Feb 13 (Reuters) - Marathon Oil Corp beat analysts' estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, on the back of higher oil production at its U.S. shale assets and said it expects oil production to grow 10 percent in 2019.
The company has been looking to divest its North Sea assets and focus on the rising shale oil production in the United States. The U.S. recently surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's top crude producer.
For the first quarter of 2019, Marathon forecast total oil production between 195 barrels per day (bpd) and 215 bpd, with U.S. oil production of 175 bpd to 185 bpd. The U.S. production outlook range accounts for extreme weather conditions experienced early in the quarter, it said.
The company's net income was $390 million, or 47 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $28 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 15 cents per share, beating analysts' estimates of 14 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
U.S. production rose to 306,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) from 262,000 boe/d in the reported quarter. (Reporting by Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)