Murphy Oil Posts $244M Net Loss in Q3, Riding Out Storms, COVID-19

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Murphy Oil Corp., an Arkansas fixture for decades before moving to Houston last spring, announced a net loss of $244 million in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, as oil and gasoline prices remained depressed.

The company, which had a loss of $317 million in a second quarter it described as “unprecedented” because of the deep toll of the pandemic, moved its headquarters out of El Dorado in May after 70 years in the Union County seat.

Murphy, an oil exploration and production company, had per-share loss of $1.59, but 15 cents a share after accounting for asset impairments and non-recurring costs, it reported in filings to the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Analysts had expected worse results. A panel at Zacks Investment Research had expected an adjusted loss of 19 cents per share, but Murphy’s revenue of $421.9 million in the quarter fell short of the Zacks panel’s estimate of $467 million.

Murphy stock (NYSE: MUR), which was trading at $7.69 a share Wednesday, has taken a beating in this COVID-haunted year, falling 70% since the beginning of the year. It was at $27.88 on Jan. 14 and hit a low of $4.68 on March 18.

The adjusted net loss excludes discontinued operations and other items that affect comparability of results between periods, the company said, including a $55 million non-cash mark-to-market loss on crude oil derivative contracts. 

CEO Roger Jenkins noted that the third quarter coincided with “the most severe hurricane season on record,” with four major storms disrupting operations in the Gulf of Mexico. These caused “short-term production shut-ins” and prevented the company from reaching the high end of its stockholder guidance, Jenkins said in a statement.

“Our assets generated strong production aside from these storms otherwise,” he added. “Our cost structure improvements continue to take hold leading to improving margins. Further, we were able to safely execute evacuating and re-manning processes of our facilities, along with managing COVID-19 concerns with our proven shore base protocols.”