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Murphy Oil Corp.

As one of the largest operators in the Gulf of Mexico, El Dorado-based Murphy Oil Corp. markets crude oil and natural gas liquids from on- and offshore drilling operations throughout the world. The corporation also is involved in petroleum and natural gas exploration and production operations worldwide.

The $28 billion company's roots go back to a lumber and banking business in south Arkansas and to 1907, when the first oil production was established in the Caddo Field in north Louisiana. With that, oil and gas became important parts of the business. But until the mid 1930, oil and gas remained secondary to timber operations and banking.

In 1996, the company's farm, timber and real estate subsidiary was spun-off to shareholders and is now known as Deltic Timber Corp.

Recent years saw the rise of CEO Claiborne Deming, the company's fourth CEO and grandson of founder Charles H. Murphy Sr., who laid the company's foundation in 1907. Under Deming, Murphy has put its gas pumps at Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lots and expanded refineries. It has also made major oil discoveries in Canada and Malaysia.

Murphy Oil made national headlines in 2007 when it announced the El Dorado Promise, which offers to pay college tuition and fees for all El Dorado High School students.

Deming retired at the end of 2008 and was succeeded by David Wood, the company's new CEO. In 2008 Murphy was third on Arkansas Business' list of top public companies in the state. It was also No. 134 on the Fortune 500.

In 2010, Murphy Oil announced plans to exit the refining businesses, selling its refineries at Superior, Wis., Meraux, La., and Milford Haven, Wales, along with its retail system in the United Kingdom. Wood said exiting the business would allow it to concentrate on growing its upstream and U.S. retail businesses.