Shell profits rise to 7.3 billion dollars

LONDON - Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell posted a 6.0-percent rise in first-quarter profits, helped by better performances at its refinery and chemical units, the group said on Thursday.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 3 May 2007, 6:25 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:55 PM

However group revenue fell, hit by lower output and weaker oil prices, the world’s second biggest energy group added in its earnings statement.

Royal Dutch Shell said the group’s oil and gas production for the year would likely be at the low end of its guidance of 3.3-3.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), blaming disruption to operations in Nigeria.

Shell is recovering after a recent crisis, which is in sharp contrast to its British rival BP, which this week saw its chief executive John Browne quit after lying to a court in a bid to keep his private life hidden.

On Thursday, Shell said its net profit climbed to 7.281 billion dollars (5.351 billion euros) during the first three months of 2007 compared with the first quarter of 2006.

The 2007 figure included a one-time gain totalling 371 million dollars, largely from asset disposals.

“These are again competitive results,” chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said in comments accompanying the results statement.

Profit at its Oil Products unit increased to 1.488 billion dollars.

“Earnings reflected higher refinery and marketing margins,” Shell said.

Meanwhile profit at its chemicals unit more than tripled to 480 million dollars.

Total group revenue fell 3.3 percent to 73.48 billion dollars, while production sank by 6.0 percent to 3.5 million boepd.

“Efforts continue towards restoring safe operational conditions in the Niger Delta,” Shell added.

The Niger Delta, a swathe of creeks and swamps and the size of Scotland, is home to Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil and gas industry.

But the region has seen a resurgence in violent attacks on oil firms and personnel over the past two years.

Shell lost 188,000 boepd in the first quarter as some key Nigerian facilities remained shut following attacks by armed militants who have been kidnapping oil companies’ foreign workers and blowing up pipelines.

Despite this setback, Shell is slowly recovering from an internal crisis that began three years ago and badly damaged its reputation among investors.

In 2004 the group admitted that it had overstated proven oil and gas reserves, leading to the departure of key executives and a reorganisation of the company.

Now BP, the world’s third biggest energy group, is facing its own crisis after its boss Browne unexpectedly resigned Tuesday when it was revealed he had lied in court over how he had met his gay lover of four years.

Last week meanwhile, BP reported a 17-percent slide in first-quarter net earnings on lower crude prices and a fall in production.

The world’s biggest oil firm, ExxonMobil, saw its latest quarterly profits gush to 9.28 billion dollars.

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