Murphy Oil Reports $317M Loss in ‘Unprecedented’ Quarter

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Murphy Oil Corp., which recently announced its corporate move out of El Dorado to Houston, reported a quarterly loss Thursday morning, but one that was not as deep as expected at 71 cents per share.

Same-quarter income last year was 21 cents per share, and Thursday’s quarterly filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission took only a slight toll on Murphy’s (NYSE: MUR) stock price.

In comments during a conference call Thursday morning, CEO Roger Jenkins said the corporate move to Texas announced in May, along with a shutdown of offices in Calgary, Alberta, led to a 30% reduction in office staff, a “difficult” layoff decision that was one of many made to keep the company resilient heading into an unknown future, the CEO said. 

“Both of these office closures, along with lowering staff levels in Houston, resulted in an overall staff reduction headcount of 30%. While a difficult decision, this flatter organization is better aligned with our business priorities going forward and results in ongoing cost savings beginning in the third quarter of 2020.” 

The company, with roots in Union County going back a century, described the distressed second quarter in a news release as a black swan event and cited an “unprecedented oil price collapse.” It posted revenue of $211 million for the quarter ended June 2020, down from same-period 2019 revenue of $709 million. The net loss for the quarter was $317 million, $2.06 per diluted share. The adjusted net loss, leaving aside discontinued operations and one-off items, was $110 million, a 71-cent loss per diluted share.

The global petroleum exploration and production company reported production of 168,000 barrels of oil equivalent and trimmed its 2020 capital expenditures budget an extra $40 million to $680 million to $720 million.

In the volatile energy sector in an extraordinary market, Murphy stock is down more than 40% since the first of the year. 

In a news release out of Houston, the company stressed its production in spite of the global coronavirus pandemic and touted its financial responsibility. “The second quarter was difficult not only for our industry, but also our company,” Jenkins said in the release. “As we endured the economic fallout from the global pandemic and the unprecedented oil price collapse, we made the decision to shut in wells, primarily at a single offshore facility. Absent these shut-ins, our assets performed very well and production volumes would have been essentially flat with the first quarter 2020.”

He praised employees’ “uptime” performance despite the health emergency and declared that health protocols had kept “COVID-19 absent from our operations.”