said first-quarter earnings will be below prior guidance because of weak gasoline margins and a maintenance project at the Canadian oil sands project known as Syncrude.
Murphy expects to earn $1.10 to $1.15 a share in the quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of $1.34 a share.
Murphy said first-quarter production should be 127,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down from previous guidance due to the Syncrude issues. The company expects to record a $52 million charge from unfruitful exploration projects, and a worldwide exploration expense of $71 million, including the charge.
The company expects to lose $5 million in its worldwide downstream operations, "primarily due to prevailing weakness in retail gasoline margins in the United States throughout the quarter, as well as a seasonal downturn in margins at our Superior, Wis., refinery," Murphy said.