Murphy Oil Q1 Profit Jumps 81%

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Murphy Oil said its first-quarter profit soared 81% to $268.9 million, or $1.38 a share, up from $148.9 million, or 77 cents a share, a year earlier, helped by improved refining margins. The results beat the glum forecast of 55-95 cents a share issued by Murphy earlier this year. Revenue climbed 42% to $7.35 billion.

Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.78 a share on revenue of $7.57 billion. Arkansas-based Murphy (MUR) said income in the first quarter from its exploration and production business was $260.4 million in the first quarter of 2011 compared to $247.0 million in the same quarter of 2010.

Murphy's first-quarter production fell to 113,313 barrels per day from 139,060 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2010, but the company's average selling price increased to $86.73 per barrel compared to the 2010 first quarter average of $64.89 per barrel.

The company's downstream business posted a first-quarter profit of $30.7 million compared with a year-earlier loss of $29.7 million. Murphy is forecasting second-quarter production of 187,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and a profit of $1.50-$1.80 a share. The company expects full-year production to average 200,000 barrels per day.