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Oil Price Drop Drives Murphy Oil to $14.4M 1Q Loss

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Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado on Wednesday reported a net loss of $14.4 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of the year, citing a drop in oil prices.

The company (NYSE: MUR) reported an adjusted loss, excluding discontinued operations and certain other items, of $198.5 million, down $373.3 million compared to last year. The company said the decline was “primarily attributed to approximately a 50 percent decline in both Brent and West Texas Intermediate benchmark crude prices and a 44 percent decline in the Henry Hub natural gas price.”

Murphy Oil said that was down from a net income of $155.3 million, or 85 cents per diluted share, during the same period last year.

Income from continuing operations during the first quarter was $3.5 million compared to $169.3 million last year.

Roger W. Jenkins, Murphy Oil’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the company “continue[s] to progress the optimization of our portfolio, reaching closure on the final phase of the sell-down of our Malaysia assets and signing a sales agreement for our remaining U.K. downstream assets.”

The company reported it had completed the sell down of 30 percent of its Malaysia oil and gas assets during the quarter, which resulted in a $199.5 million after tax gain upon the close of the second phase of the sale. The U.K. agreement is scheduled to close by the middle of the year.

“We remain focused on allocating capital and reducing operating expenditure,” Jenkins said. “Looking ahead, Murphy is well positioned with a solid balance sheet and cash positions to carry out our capital plans and evaluate opportunities that will enhance our business.”

Murphy Oil will hold a conference call at noon Thursday to discuss the earnings report.

The company announced on Tuesday that Jenkins had undergone an “unscheduled medical procedure” but was doing well and expected to return to work next week. In his absence, John Eckart, executive vice president and CFO, will lead the earnings call.

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