The chief executive of US independent Murphy Oil has taken temporary medical leave amid concerns about Covid-19 as the company awaits test results.
"Murphy Oil Corporation today announced that Roger Jenkins, president and chief executive officer has, pending test results, a presumptive diagnosis of Covid-19, and has taken a temporary medical leave," the company said on Wednesday.
"He is expected to completely recover."
In the meantime, chief financial officer David Looney will temporarily assume the chief executive duties, the company said.
Jenkins has been chief executive of the company since 2013. He was 57 years old as of the company's most recent 2019 proxy statement filed with the US Securities & Exchange Commission.
Murphy earlier this month announced a 35% cut to capital expenditures as the oil industry faces the dual challenges of the oil price drop, in the wake of a breakdown in production-cut talks between Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as cratering demand for fuels amid global measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The US independent said, at the time, it would slash its budget by $500 million down to $950 million, with more details to come.
The company said it would adjust its plans by delaying "certain US Gulf of Mexico projects and development wells" as well as postponing the spud of two operated exploration wells.
Murphy also said it would release its operated rigs and frack crews in the Eagle Ford shale, planning no operated activity in the second half of 2020. It also plans to defer completions in the Tupper Montney formation.
“Under current conditions, we believe this capital reduction program allows for financial flexibility and preservation of our longstanding dividend," Jenkins said at the time.
“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."
The company has "ample liquidity" as of the end of 2019 given an undrawn $1.6 billion senior unsecured credit facility that is due in November 2023. The company also has no debt maturities until June 2022.