Murphy Oil Trims Guidance

It cites weak retail gasoline margins in the U.S.
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Murphy Oil

(MUR) - Get Report

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.