Marathon Oil made news earlier this week when it was announced that it was buying Calgary-based Western Oil Sands, to move into Canadian oil sands.

The company is again in the news, this time for paying a $1 million fine to settle allegations that it tried to manipulate the price it paid for crude oil in late 2003 to help boost profits, federal regulators said Wednesday.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Houston-based Marathon tried to influence the price of crude imported to Cushing, Oklahoma, in November 2003. The case was the agency’s first involving charges of attempted price manipulation of oil since 1979.

Marathon neither admitted nor denied the government’s allegations, saying in a statement that it decided to settle “based on a number of factors, including the desire to avoid the expense and distraction of protracted litigation.”

The commission accused Marathon of artificially lowering prices for West Texas Intermediate crude in 2003 during a 30-minute “window” that occurs daily between the close of pit trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the start of after-hours electronic trading.