by Luke Jones
Posted 3/26/2012 12:00 am
Updated 11 months ago
For the past three years, David Wood has been leading Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado through a period of changing energy sensibilities.
Wood received a bachelor's degree in geology from Nottingham University in England. He has worked with oil companies since 1980.
He joined Murphy in 1994 and has served in various executive capacities since, including vice president, senior vice president of frontier exploration and production and president of Murphy Exploration & Production Co.
A certified petroleum geologist and member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Wood is also a director of the American Petroleum Institute.
Wood succeeded Claiborne Deming, a member of the Murphy family, as CEO.
"David is an extremely talented and accomplished individual who has excelled in building an exploration and production program, recruiting exceptionally skilled professionals and executing world-class projects," Deming said when he announced his retirement in 2008. "He has the leadership ability and skill to grow the company's business well into the future, and I wholeheartedly commend him to shareholders."
The biggest recent change for Murphy has been the divestment of its oil refinery business.
"Murphy's upstream and U.S. retail businesses have demonstrated marked growth and financial performance over the last several years," Wood said in 2010. "By exiting the refining business, we can fully focus our attention and resources on continuing that growth, developing a premier international upstream business and a top quartile U.S. retail franchise."
Murphy Oil had total revenue of $27.7 billion and income of $873 million in 2011.
Through the second half of 2011, the company shed both of its stateside refineries, beginning in Superior, Wis.
"We are pleased to announce the sale of our Superior Refinery as we execute on our strategy to exit the refining business," Wood said in July. "The price realization for Superior represents fair market value for the assets and we look to redeploy the proceeds and working capital from the sales process into our upstream growth business."
The facility went to Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP of Indianapolis for $434 million. Another, in Meraux, La., was sold to a subsidiary of San Antonio's Valero Energy Corp. for $585 million. The third refinery, located in Milford Haven, Wales, hasn't yet been sold, and Wood has said that's a major goal for 2012.
"It's likely to take a little longer than planned to divest," he said.
In selling the Meraux refinery, Wood distanced Murphy from a 2005 tragedy in which Hurricane Katrina ravaged the facility, loosing 1 million gallons of oil and damaging 10,000 homes in the process. The subsequent lawsuit cost Murphy $330 million.
"We are pleased to finalize the sale of both the Superior and Meraux refineries as those were important steps in our ongoing repositioning efforts," Wood said in October.
Wood said the "repositioning" refers to focusing on exploration, production and retail. Its retail arm teams up with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville and runs Murphy USA gas stations at more than 900 Wal-Mart stores.
Murphy is also making forays into electric transportation. In October, it installed its first electric vehicle charger at a Murphy USA station in Chattanooga, Tenn. More chargers will be installed in states with good access to EVs, like Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, California, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Oregon.