Shell Profits Gush on Record High Oil Prices

Violence in Nigeria hampered production in second quarter.

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that high oil prices helped push its net profit up by a third to $11.556 billion in the second quarter. Profits rocketed despite flagging production which was hampered by violence at facilities in Nigeria. Output fell 1.6% during the reporting period to 3.126 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, Shell said in an earnings release. Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer, addressing reporters after publication of the results, said that recent attacks in Nigeria had cost the group 178,000 barrels per day of output in the first three weeks of July. In the second quarter, about 195,000 barrels per day were lost because of the attacks, he added. Shell had said on Tuesday that it was suspending some crude deliveries after militants sabotaged a pipeline in Nigeria. The group added Thursday that its net earnings, excluding fluctuations in the value of inventories, rose 5% to $7.9 billion in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period in 2007. Europe's biggest oil company said its income jumped by 55% to $131.419 billion during the second quarter. Energy majors like Shell were boosted by rocketing world oil prices that scaled record heights in the period and struck historic peaks above $147 per barrel earlier this month. "This is another set of competitive earnings for Shell shareholders," van der Veer said in the results statement. "Good operating performance, combined with increased oil and gas prices, offset the impact of weaker downstream conditions in the second quarter 2008. The firm also raised its quarterly shareholder dividend by 11% to 40 cents per share. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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