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Tuesday 04th of May 2010
April 28, 2010    

Royal Dutch Shell profits up 50% on higher oil prices

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by Kay Murchie

Royal Dutch Shell has today reported a 49% rise in first quarter profits as a result of higher oil prices.

The oil giant said profits totalled $4.96 billion (£3.2 billion) in the three month period - up 49% on the same period a year ago and much higher than the $1.2 billion profit in the last three months of 2009.

Like other oil companies, Shell has benefited from rising crude oil prices, which were around the $76 a barrel mark in the first three months of the year – compared with an average $40 in the same period a year ago.

Last month, the company announced it would axe a third of its global petrol station network and shed a further 1,000 jobs by the end of next year, as part of its ongoing cost cutting programme.

The Anglo-Dutch firm, which is Britain’s second largest oil company, is undergoing a restructuring programme and reduced headcount by 5,000 last year.

It has already announced plans to cut costs by $1 billion (£664 million) this year.

According to Shell’s chief executive, Peter Voser, the turnaround in results for the first quarter of the year were “driven largely by our own actions”, citing growth in production and exploration of new oil fields.

However, Mr Voser cautioned of a “mixed” outlook for 2010. “Although there are signs of an improving economic outlook, we are not relying on it,” he said.

Yesterday, fellow oil giant BP reported a 135% rise in its first quarter profits on the back of higher oil prices.

BP said profits more than doubled to $5.6 billion (£3.6 billion), compared with $2.4 billion for the first quarter of 2009.

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