Marathon Oil Corporation's board of directors has approved a $1.9 billion expansion and heavy oil upgrade project at the company's Detroit, Michigan refinery.

The project will increase the refinery’s heavy oil processing capacity, including Canadian bitumen blends, by about 80,000 barrels per day (bpd), and will increase its total crude oil refining capacity by about 15%, from 100,000 bpd to 115,000 bpd. When completed in late 2010, the project will add more than 400,000 gallons of clean transportation fuels per day to the marketplace.

Clarence Cazalot, president and CEO, said: The Detroit refinery expansion and upgrade will enable us to link our recently acquired Canadian oil sands production, along with its significant growth potential, with a lower cost, higher value refining option.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2007 or early 2008, subject to obtaining the necessary permits from applicable regulatory agencies.