Shell earnings boosted by higher oil and gas prices

Royal Dutch Shell has reported a large rise in second-quarter profits after the energy giant was boosted by higher oil and gas prices.

Shell's quarterly earnings surged 245%. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The group said adjusted earnings surged from $1.05 billion (£800 million) to $3.6bn, an increase of 245 per cent, as chief executive Ben van Beurden said he was making progress on “reshaping the company”.

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“Cash generation has been resilient over four consecutive quarters, at an average oil price of just under $50 per barrel,” said van Beurden.

“The external price environment and energy sector developments mean we will remain very disciplined, with an absolute focus on the four levers within our control, namely capital efficiency, costs, new project delivery, and divestments.

“I am confident that we are on track to deliver a world-class investment to our shareholders.”

The figures were flattered by a disastrous second quarter in 2016, when it was stung by dilapidated crude prices and costs linked to its takeover of BG Group.

This time last year Brent crude was trading at about $45 a barrel, compared to circa $50 today.

Shell is also embarking on an ambitious cost-cutting drive and a $30bn divestment initiative. To this end, the oil major has sold off more than $20bn of assets since the BG takeover.

Shell this year announced it will sell off a package of North Sea assets for up to $3.8bn to smaller rival Chrysaor, and recently agreed to sell its stake in Irish gas project Corrib in a deal worth up to $1.23bn.