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Murphy Oil Moves On (Editorial)

2 min read

Losing publicly traded Murphy Oil Corp. to Texas is a body blow to Arkansas.

A supply glut and the global economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have drastically cut demand for crude oil, and prices have plunged.

Citing this price drop, Murphy Oil announced on Wednesday that it was closing its headquarters in El Dorado as well as an office in Canada. An existing office in Houston will become its new headquarters.

“We realize, reluctantly, that we need to consolidate our offices to capture additional cost savings to remain competitive in this unprecedented industry environment. We simply do not have a choice and came to this decision only after exhausting all other cost saving measures,” company Chairman Claiborne Deming said.

The company says it will continue to fund the El Dorado Promise, a program it founded in 2007 to pay the college tuition — up to the highest amount charged by an Arkansas public university — of every college-bound graduate of the El Dorado School District.

And Murphy USA, the nationwide chain of fuel and convenience stores that was spun off from Murphy Oil in 2013, will remain in El Dorado.

Funding the scholarship program is just one of the many ways in which Murphy Oil has supported El Dorado over the years. It has also contributed hugely to the $100 million Murphy Arts District.

Murphy Oil’s history is largely the history of the oil industry in south Arkansas, and though we understand the company’s decision, it hurts.

You can force people to do a lot of things, but you can’t force them to feel safe. And until they feel safe, Americans won’t commit to fully engaging in the economy. And until they’re fully engaged, the economy will suffer.

That’s why trust in political leadership is essential to a healthy economy.

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