Reuters reports that Marathon Oil Corp., will buy oil and gas properties in Texas'' Eagle Ford shale field $3.5 billion from private equity firm KKR and Hilcorp Resources Holdings LP. The deal for the 140,000 acres in the Eagle Ford shale is the latest in a frenzy by energy producers to snap up oil and gas properties that were too difficult for the industry to tap into only a decade ago. Eagle Ford has emerged as the hottest of those North American shale fields, since much of its output is oil, which remains above $100 per barrel, rather than natural gas that flows from fields such as the Marcellus shale. With the new agreement, Marathon''s overall holdings in the Eagle Ford will total more than 285,000 acres by the end of the year, it said, giving it potentially 100 million barrels of oil equivalent in proved reserves. Marathon will use cash on hand to pay for the assets, which will immediately contribute to earnings and are expected to be self-funding by 2014, it said.