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Murphy Oil Guides Higher

Dry hole costs shrink.

Murphy Oil (MUR) - Get Murphy Oil Corporation Report boosted third-quarter earnings expectations due to lower-than-anticipated dry hole costs and a strong contribution from its refining and marketing operations.

The company said it now expects to earn 95 cents to $1.05 a share; Thomson First Call had been expecting the company to earn 75 cents a share.

Murphy said oil and natural gas production is estimated to be slightly higher than previously expected due to less than anticipated hurricane downtime in the Gulf of Mexico. Successful exploratory drilling continued in the third quarter in shallow-water Malaysia, so dry hole costs for the quarter should be limited to a maximum of $25 million.

Corporate charges for the third quarter are expected to be approximately $25 million; results also will include an $18 million charge associated with a 10% tax rate increase on oil and natural gas profit in the U.K. North Sea which was enacted on July 19.

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