El Dorado-based Murphy Oil makes cost-cutting moves

El Dorado-based Murphy Oil Corp. said Wednesday that because of ongoing weakness in the oil sector it is cutting executive pay, reducing its yearly capital spending guidance and reducing its quarterly cash dividend by 50%.

"Murphy recognizes the reality of the current situation in the commodity markets, and we believe the reduction in dividends, capital expenditures, salaries and retainers are prudent steps to sustain the company for the long term," Claiborne Deming, chairman of the board for Murphy Oil Corp., said in a statement.

Shares of Murphy Oil Corp. fell nearly 9% in trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Oil prices have plummeted from about $54 a barrel in mid-February to about $20 a barrel.

In a news release, the company said the president and chief executive officer's annual salary will be cut 35%. Other executives will have their salaries reduced by up to 30% with an average reduction of 22%, effective Wednesday.

The company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.25 a share or 50 cents a share annually, according to the release. Murphy also reduced its 2020 capital spending plan to $780 million.

-- John Magsam