By BridgeNews Royal Dutch/Shell Group, the U.K.-Dutch oil company, says fourth-quarter earnings rose 60%, boosted by higher oil prices and cost savings. Adjusted earnings on a current cost of supplies basis rose to $3.58 billion, up from $2.24 billion in the same quarter in 1999 and in the mid-range of analysts' forecasts. "The overall business environment was more favorable as the benefit of higher oil and gas prices and higher refining margins more than offset the effects of lower marketing and chemicals margins," Shell reports. "There was a strong underlying earnings increase due mainly to cost improvements." Net income rose 21% to $3.11 billion from $2.58 billion. Looking ahead, the company says "uncertainties over both economic growth and oil supply mean crude prices are expected to remain volatile in 2001."