Belfast Telegraph

Rising crude prices see Royal Dutch Shell earnings surge to £3bn

Royal Dutch Shell more than doubled its earnings in the first three months of the year amid a bounce-back in the sector thanks to rising crude prices.

The group said underlying earnings on a current-cost-of-supply basis surged to 3.8 billion US dollars (£3 billion) from 1.6 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion) a year earlier.

It follows an impressive first quarter for the sector, with rival BP revealing earlier this week it returned to profit with earnings of 1.4 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) against losses of 485 million US dollars (£377 million) a year earlier.

US oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron also posted better-than-expected earnings last week thanks to a rebound in crude prices, which were more than 50% higher in the first quarter than a year earlier, when they had hit near 13-year lows.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden said it was a "strong quarter for Shell".

He added that the group's takeover of smaller rival BG Group, which completed last year, was starting to pay off.

Shell has sold off around 20 billion US dollars (£16 billion) of assets since its acquisition of BG, while earnings have also been boosted by hefty cost-cutting over the past three years.

Mr van Beurden said: "The strategy we have outlined to deliver a world-class investment case is taking shape.

"Following the successful integration of BG, we are rapidly transforming Shell through the consistent and disciplined execution of our strategy.

Shell's upstream business, which includes exploration and production, swung out of the red with underlying earnings of 540 million US dollars (£420 million) against losses of 1.4 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) a year earlier.

The downstream business, which includes refining, saw underlying profits rise 24% to 2.5 billion US dollars (£1.9 billion).

Shares in the group lifted 3% after the first-quarter update.