Ark. Oil Company to Close Headquarters, Consolidate

The company cited the steep drop in crude oil prices in its decision.

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EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) — Murphy Oil Corp. on Wednesday said it's closing its El Dorado, Arkansas, headquarters and moving to Houston.

The independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company cited the steep drop in crude oil prices in its decision to close the El Dorado office, which has about 80 employees, and another office in Canada that employs 110 people. The company said it's consolidating all worldwide staff activities to its existing office in Houston.

The decision came after the company said it made other cuts, including halving capital expenditures, lowering the company's dividend and reducing executive salaries.

“We simply do not have a choice and came to this decision only after exhausting all other cost saving measures,” board chairman Claiborne P. Deming said in a statement. The company said it expected to complete the closures early in the third quarter of this year.

The company said it intended to keep funding the El Dorado Promise, a scholarship program it set up in 2007 that pays the tuition of every college-bound graduate of El Dorado's public schools.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was saddened by the news but pleased that Murphy USA, the chain of gas stations and convenience stores, will keep its headquarters in El Dorado with 600 employees.

“We know that we will continue to work with both companies in the future," Hutchinson said.

El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer said the company's move is a hit for the city.

“I’ve been here all my life and that’s been one of our bragging rights that El Dorado has had," she said. “Of course that changes some things. With Murphy USA still being here, we can still brag about that."

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