A recently disclosed impairment charge of $368.6 million led Murphy Oil to a fourth quarter loss of $113.9 million.
One year ago, Murphy Oil recorded net income of $174.1 million.
The El Dorado-based oil and gas company disclosed on Monday that it would take the big fourth quarter 2011 charge in its oil exploration operations in the Republic of the Congo due to declining well performance. The impairment had no income tax effect and Murphy Oil officials said higher sales prices for crude oil production “tempered” the overall impact on results.
For the full year, Murphy Oil net income totaled $872.7 million, or $4.49 per diluted share, compared to $798.1 million, or $4.13 per diluted share, in 2010.
“Of course 2011 was not without its challenges,” said CEO David Wood. “The year 2011 was an important year for Murphy Oil. The sale of our two U.S. refineries was a key step in our strategy to reposition the company and we are now focused on the divestiture of the U.K. downstream assets.”
Wood also outlined key regions of the world where Murphy Oil expects to ramp up exploration in future years and he warned that Gulf of Mexico production was under regulatory strain.
“We acquired exploration rights in several highly prospective areas around the globe, including Kurdistan Iraq, Cameroon and Suriname,” Wood said. “Activity in the Gulf of Mexico continues to feel the impact of the new permitting and operating framework established for the industry. We received permits for two sidetracks at Front Runner and a new development well at Thunder Hawk to be drilled in 2012. This year will be important as we evaluate the future potential of our business in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Shares of Murphy Oil (NYSE: MUR) ended Wednesday trading at $60.65. The company’s stock has traded from a low of $40.41 to a high of $78.16 in the last year.