Shell profits miss forecasts amid weak refining

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Oil giant Shell today reported a steeper-than-expected slide in profits as a weak refining environment and higher exploration costs weighed on its performance.

Adjusted profits for the third quarter fell 31.8 per cent to $4.5 billion (£2.8bn), missing analysts’ forecast range of $4.9bn to $5.1bn.

The group said its earnings were hit by “significantly weaker industry refining conditions, increased upstream operating expenses and exploration expenses” as well as a worsening security situation in Nigeria.

Despite the fall in profits, Shell raised its third-quarter dividend by 5 per cent to 45 cents a share.

Chief executive Peter Voser, who steps down at the end of the year, said: “We are facing headwinds from weak industry refining margins, and the security situation in Nigeria, which continue to erode the near term outlook.”