Murphy Oil CEO Predicts Growth in Energy Demand, Retail Sales

EL DORADO - CEO David Wood, in a presentation at Murphy Oil Corp.'s annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, cited increased demand for energy and a growing retail sector as growth areas for the El Dorado company.

"The world is making lots of babies," Wood said, pointing at developing nations as a major source of growing population and, therefore, increased energy use. Additionally, a move away from nuclear energy after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan has created additional demand on other energy forms.

"Nuclear was seen as answering many climate debate issues," Wood said. "It's now being pushed away."

Wood said Murphy is focusing on its oil markets but choking back on natural gas for a lack of profitability; he said this was a "hard call" to make. The company produces oil in five countries and explores in 10.

He said the company is getting close to the sale of its refinery in Milford Haven, Wales - purchasers are "at the table." Over the past year, Murphy sold its other two refineries in Meraux, La., and Superior, Wis. Wood said the final sale will help Murphy define itself as a retailer and independent exploration and production business.

Wood lauded Murphy USA's retail footprint. The retail gasoline stations see 1.6 million customers each day thanks to a low price, high volume model. He said the company is planning to build gas stations with larger kiosks to sell more indoor products and increase the number of kiosks at stores other than Wal-Marts, where almost all of the Murphy USA stations have been located.

Wood said Murphy is experiencing "tremendous growth" with "solid projects" and "active exploration."

"Our retail business has reached critical mass," he said. "It's a premium business."

During the meeting's normal business, shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor for the reappointment of the Murphy board of directors (including newly elected directors Walentin Mirosh and Steven Cossé); its executive compensation policy; its long-term incentive plan; its 2012 incentive plan; and the reappointment of KPMG LLP as the company's independent auditor.