Murphy Oil announced Wednesday that it’s moving its corporate headquarters from El Dorado, Ark., to Houston.
The company said in a news release that it was relocating because of an “extraordinary drop in crude oil prices, independent oil and natural gas exploration” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The office in El Dorado, where the company was founded in 1944, employs about 80 people.
Murphy Oil is also closing its Canadian office in Calgary, where about 110 people are employed.
Claiborne Deming, the company’s chairman of the board, said in a written statement that the company decided to close the two offices “only after exhausting all other cost saving measures.” Murphy Oil has cut expenditures this year by about 50 percent, or $700 million. It has also halved the company’s dividend and lowered executive salaries by 22 percent.
The offices will be closed by early in the third quarter. Affected employees will be offered severance packages, according to the release.
“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,” Deming said.
The company said it plans to continue funding El Dorado Promise, a program that pays college tuition for students from the El Dorado Public School District.
Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the relocation of Murphy Oil:
“Both Murphy Oil and Murphy USA have been amazing partners for Arkansas through many decades and I’m confident they will continue to be a key part of our economic future, even though we are saddened by the news today that Murphy Oil will be moving 82 jobs to Houston as a result of this change. We are very pleased with the continued presence of Murphy USA, that has 600 employees and their headquarters in El Dorado, and that they have a continued commitment to the El Dorado Promise. We know that we will continue to work with both companies in the future.”
Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin issued a statement following the relocation:
“I am so very sad Arkansas is losing an iconic company and the important jobs they provide in South Arkansas where I grew up. Murphy Oil has been a generous corporate citizen and called Arkansas home for decades. They will be sorely missed. They have been a strong supporter of the El Dorado community, and I am thankful they will continue to support the El Dorado Promise Scholarship. The unprecedented economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business community cannot be overstated, but this news is also a reminder that there is intense competition for jobs and industry, and we must remain committed to improving Arkansas’s business climate.”