At Upbeat Murphy Oil Meeting, Firm Focuses on More Growth

by Joanna Kauffmann  on Wednesday, May. 11, 2011 3:51 pm  

David Wood

EL DORADO -- Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado ended 2010 with more than $23 billion in revenue and is now repositioning itself for more growth, company President David Wood told shareholders of the oil and gas company on Wednesday.

The mood was upbeat at the company's annual meeting, which took place at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado. Last week, the company announced an 81 percent increase in first-quarter profit.

"We're on very solid footing financially," Wood told shareholders in his report on the state of the company. Now, the focus is on "repositioning for future growth," he said.

That process involves continuing plans, announced last year, to narrow its business by selling its US refining and UK downstream operations and reinvesting the proceeds into other parts of the business. Wood said there's an upswing in the refining industry, making now the perfect time for the company to sell those businesses.

In doing so, the company will emphasize exploration/production and retail, emerging "stronger and more focused."

Wal-Mart and Murphy Oil
A key component of that strategy is Murphy Oil's retail gasoline partnership with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville. Murphy Oil has gas stations at more than 900 Wal-Mart store sites around the country. On Wednesday, it said it plans 55 new sites in 2011.

The two companies will work to cross-promote each other's brands, with Wal-Mart offering savings on Murphy gasoline when customers purchase gas using a Wal-Mart credit card. The first such promotion is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.

Wood said the company is also focusing on renewable energy with two ethanol plants in Hankinson, N.D., and Hereford, Texas.

The company's activity in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas remains key for it business. Natural gas and oil drilling operations from its four rigs improved 36 percent from 2009 to 2010, and the company expects to double the amount of rigs in the shale by the end of the year.

In addition to Wood's presentation, shareholders voted on four items that re-elected the company's executive directors and approved:

  • an executive compensation plan
  • an annual advisory vote on the company's executive compensation plan
  • KPMG LLC to remain the company's independent accounting firm
Shares of Murphy Oil (NYSE: MUR) ended down 3.6 percent Wednesday to $67.50 per share.



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