Belfast Telegraph

Shell sees 30% profit hike as oil prices rise

By Graeme Evans

Royal Dutch Shell has put beleaguered rival BP in the shade with a 30% hike in first-quarter profits to $6.2bn (£3.8bn).

The big increase, which was marginally ahead of City expectations, reflected the latest hike in oil prices and better margins in refining.

Upstream production was down 3% but this compared with an 11% drop at BP over the same period after the oil giant was forced to sell assets in order to pay for clean-up costs in relation to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP announced yesterday that its profits fell 2% to $5.48bn (£3.32bn).

Shell Chief Executive Peter Voser has responded to the difficult conditions in downstream operations through restructuring initiatives and has refocused the Anglo-Dutch firm's efforts on emerging growth markets.

Mr Voser said: "We continue to make good progress in implementing our strategy - improving near-term performance, delivering a new wave of production growth, and maturing the next generation of growth options for shareholders."

The big boost to Shell's results came from a sharp turnaround in the performance of its downstream arm, which saw profits more than double to $1.65bn (£1bn) .