Murphy Oil Corp. CEO Roger W. Jenkins is taking a temporary medical leave due to a “presumptive diagnosis” of COVID-19, the independent oil and gas producer said in a March 25 company release.
The El Dorado, Ark.-based company said Jenkins is expected to “completely recover” and his diagnosis is pending test results. In the interim, David R. Looney, Murphy Oil’s executive vice president and CFO, will temporarily assume Jenkin’s responsibilities as president and CEO.
Murphy Oil unveiled spending cuts earlier this month following a collapse in oil prices driven by the coronavirus pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. In a March 12 release, the company said it had slashed its budget by 35% at the midpoint of the previously announced capex of between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion.
As a result of the capex cut, Murphy Oil decided to delay some U.S. Gulf of Mexico projects and development wells. Onshore, the company plans to release operated rigs and fracking crews in the Eagle Ford Shale with no operated activity planned for second-half 2020 plus defer well completions in the Tupper Montney in Canada.
“We have persevered through multiple commodity price cycles in our 70 years of corporate history, and want to provide reassurance that we are focused on a strategy that protects the business, the balance sheet and our liquidity, while maintaining optionality for additional adjustments given the unstable environment,” Jenkins said in a statement in the March 12 release. He added that Murphy has an ample liquidity position with no debt maturities until June 2022.