EL DORADO, Ark. (05/07/20) — The Murphy Oil Corporation will be closing its office headquarters in El Dorado and many are wondering what’s now in store for the town.
The corporation has been a staple in El Dorado and South Arkansas dating back to the 1900’s. The oil and gas business expanded production to other parts of the country and even engaged in foreign ventures.
Most residents in El Dorado are familiar with their unwavering commitment to their small community.
“They’ve always given back to the community and not just as far as education is concerned. They’ve always been supportive of the arts even before the Murphy Arts District,” Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer said.
“It’s not like they were just here and didn’t have a presence. They’ve always been very supportive of the community at large.”
Community organizations expressed their gratitude to Facebook since the announcement. United Way of Union County issued a statement in part:
“Thank you Murphy Oil for the years of philanthropy you’ve given us so unselfishly. We are grateful for the leadership teams and employees who have advocated for United Way and let’s just be honest donated millions of dollars just to our health and human services programs.”
Executives announced they would remain committed to El Dorado by keeping the El Dorado Promise. The scholarship program was established in 2006, and funded by Murphy Oil Corporation through an initial investment of $50 million.
Since then, more than 2,500 students have received the Promise and haven taken their studies to 145 different college and universities in 35 different states.
The El Dorado School District also posted a statement on Facebook in part:
“Murphy Oil has been our partner for decades. They have given generously to fund programs, providing resources and volunteers to recognize and support our students. We are saddened to lose their presence in our community but we are continually grateful for the opportunity we have had to work with them for the betterment of El Dorado.”
Oil prices layered on top of the coronavirus pandemic forced executives to make a decision that many didn’t see coming. However, it didn’t take Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer by surprise because it’s been largely talked about before.
Kim Whitley, a spokesperson for Murphy Oil Corporation said the business had gone through numerous cost cutting measures to significantly reduce cost at all levels.
“We really had not choice but to close that office and relocate the headquarters to Houston,” Whitley said.
The Murphy Arts District will be affected by the cuts. They were provided some funding and will continue to receive a portion but on a smaller scale at this point. Representatives with MAD declined to make a comment about the announcement.
Though, the fight to move forward from this is underway from city, county and state leaders. Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer iterated that the announcement was bad news but it’s not a complete loss.
Murphy USA will remain in El Dorado. The announcement had no impact on their office locations or store operations.
“Our headquarters remain in Arkansas with no plans to change that,” the company said in a statement. “Hundreds of home office employees work in El Dorado to support the store teams in our almost 1,500 stores across the country and as you know, we love the communities we serve – especially our home town.”
The Arkansas Democtrats in Union County issued a statement in part:
“Murphy Oil helped build this town, and it’s success has meant everything to us. This decision puts a hole in our hearts but we won’t be knocked off course. We believe in El Dorado.
The people of El Dorado are already at work to preserve our prosperity, and keep us moving. We have built the foundations for a diverse and resilient economy here. We’re not going to let that stop. We’re going to keep going.“
President of the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce, Bill Luther, is doing just that. He said developers plan for situations such as this to happen.
His team has been working on bringing other corporations to the town since before the pandemic. So far, their efforts have been successful.
“We just got notification that one of the projects we’ve been working on for several years has officially closed all the paperwork and they will begin construction on a new operation that will start up next year,” Luther said.
“We’re just waiting on the official announcement from that corporation and that’s going to bring positive news to El Dorado.”
The chamber is also working with two retail developers and a family entertainment business that have already acquired their license for construction.
Luther couldn’t comment on who those businesses were but said they have each begun making renovations to their business. The two retail stores will be housed in the old Fred’s shopping center.
They’re also working on bringing another headquarters in from the northeastern parts of the country.
“They’ve suffered severely under the pandemic and some corporation may want to relocate its headquarters to a place that’s a little more rural,” he said, “There’s opportunities out there.”
Although these businesses can’t replace the rich history of Murphy Oil, Luther remains optimistic about the future.
“El Dorado will always progress,” he said. “This is just one bump in the road but El Dorado will continue to grow and prosper.”
The Murphy Oil Corporation expects to gradually ceases operations by mid July. In the meantime, they are working to provide assistance to the 82 people that was working in that office.
They will offer some employees that opportunity to transfer to Houston. Some employees will be eligible for their retirement package and then others will receive and appropriate severance.
BREAKING: Murphy Oil Corporation, facing an unprecedented industry oil price collapse, is relocating corporate headquarters to Houston, Texas
EL DORADO, Ark. (May 6, 2020)– In recognition of the extraordinary drop in crude oil prices, independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, Murphy Oil Corporation(NYSE: MUR), is closing its legacy headquarters office in El Dorado, Arkansas, home to approximately 80 employees, as well as its longstanding office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, home to approximately 110 employees. Consequently, it will be consolidating all worldwide staff activities to its existing office location in Houston, Texas as the new corporate headquarters.
“Over the past several months, we have taken several actions to significantly reduce costs, including cutting this year’s capital expenditures by approximately 50 percent, or $700 million, lowering the company’s dividend by 50 percent, or $76.5 million on an annualized basis, and lowering executive officers’ salaries on average 22 percent, with the chief executive officer’s reduced by 35 percent. 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,” stated Claiborne P. Deming, Chairman of the Board. Deming added, “The El Dorado office closure is particularly painful and difficult, because the company was founded here by C. H. Murphy, Jr. and has been an integral and important part of the community for many years.”
“This decision is one we take with sadness, but with the understanding that our only path forward is to consolidate into one office in Houston. The company recognizes the hardship this decision causes to many in El Dorado and Calgary, and we are committed to treating all those impacted consistent with past practices and plan to offer appropriate severance arrangements,” according to Roger W. Jenkins, President and Chief Executive Officer. “These actions will not impact our field operations in the US and Canada, and we anticipate these office closures to be completed early in the third quarter 2020.”
Importantly, the company intends to continue funding the El Dorado Promise. Founded in 2007, the program pays the college tuition, up to the highest amount charged by an Arkansas public university, of every college-bound graduate of the El Dorado Public School District.
In a separate press release issued today, the company announced its first quarter 2020 financial and operating results. The company will provide further insight regarding its consolidation efforts and cost savings initiatives on the first quarter 2020 conference call.
ABOUT MURPHY OIL CORPORATION
As an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, Murphy Oil Corporationbelieves in providing energy that empowers people by doing right always, staying with it and thinking beyond possible. It challenges the norm, taps into its strong legacy and uses its foresight and financial discipline to deliver inspired energy solutions. Murphy sees a future where it is an industry leader who is positively impacting lives for the next 100 years and beyond. Additional information can be found on the company’s website at www.murphyoilcorp.com.
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