Income from discontinued operations was $6.8 million in 2012 compared to $143.2 million in 2011. The 2011 results primarily related to income for two U.S. refineries sold in late 2011, including $113.1 million of operating profits and an $18.7 million net gain on disposal. Income from discontinued operations in both years included operating profits for U.K. offshore oil and gas assets that are expected to be sold in the first quarter 2013.
Steven A. Cossé, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “The just completed 2012 was an important year for our Company. Murphy’s Board decided to separate our U.S. downstream subsidiary into an independent public company; the completion of this process is expected during 2013. The U.S. retail business executed a new contract with Walmart, which will provide growth opportunities for this company for the next several years. In the oil and gas business, once again our reserves replacement significantly exceeded our oil and gas production volumes. We continued growth in our Eagle Ford Shale operation, where total production averaged 15,000 net barrels of oil equivalent per day for 2012, with expected 2013 annual production increasing to 30,000 net barrel equivalents per day. We added acreage and working interests in Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, while finalizing sale agreements for our oil and gas properties in the U.K. that are expected to close in the first quarter of this year. We also paid a $2.50 per share special dividend and commenced a stock buyback program near year-end.
“We anticipate total worldwide production volumes of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter of 2013. Sales volumes of oil and natural gas are projected to average 202,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day during the quarter. At the present time, we expect income from continuing operations in the first quarter to range between $0.55 and $0.90 per diluted share. The first quarter estimate includes projected exploration expense of between $70 million and $140 million, and a loss from our downstream businesses of approximately $10 million. Results could vary based on the risk factors described below.”