Shell Profits Rocket to $8.78 Billion in Q1

'We continue to make good progress in implementing our strategy; improving near-term performance, delivering a new wave of production growth, and maturing the next generation of growth options for shareholders,' said chief executive Peter Voser.

Shell turned in a 60% net profit leap for the first quarter, as the group benefited from resurgent oil prices and the sale of non-core assets.

Earnings after taxation rallied to $8.78 billion in the three months to March, up from $5.48 billion a year earlier, the company said on April 28. Sales rose 28% to almost $110 billion.

"Our first quarter 2011 earnings have risen from year-ago levels, driven by higher industry margins and our own operating performance," said chief executive Peter Voser.

"We continue to make good progress in implementing our strategy; improving near-term performance, delivering a new wave of production growth, and maturing the next generation of growth options for shareholders."

Adjusted net profits, stripping out movements in the value of inventories and other non-operating items, jumped to $6.29 billion in the reporting period, compared with $4.82 billion last time around.

"We have announced new asset sales and cost savings programs, as part of Shell's focus on continuous improvement, to enhance our profitability and performance," added Voser. "Shell sold $3.2 billion of non-core positions, including tight gas assets in South Texas, in the quarter."

Total oil and gas production, meanwhile, declined by 2.5% to 3.504 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the reporting period.

"In the battle of the UK super majors, the first leg of 2011 belongs to Shell by a considerable margin," said Richard Hunter, equities head at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers. "Whereas BP has had to reorganize its business model and turn its attention to the ongoing fallout from the Gulf of Mexico spill, Shell has continued to power ahead unabated."

He added: "The company's longer term plans, including the disposal of non-core operations and additional focus on continuous improvement, give Shell a focus which should further underpin its position."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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