Higher N. Sea crude oil prices deliver big boost in Q1 profits for Shell and Statoil

North Sea crude oil prices 55% higher than last year yesterday helped boost profits first-quarter profits this year at both Shell and Norway’s Statoil.

However, crude oil prices fell yesterday for the fourth consecutive day – touching their lowest since March – at just above $50-barrel after US crude stocks fell by less than expected.

Shell profits (on a current cost of supply measure which strips out price fluctuations) jumped to $3.4 billion (£2.6 billion) from $1 billion last year. Excluding one-off items, profits on the CCS measure were $3.86 billion, up 136%.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, commented: “This was a strong quarter for Shell.

“Cash flow from operating activities of $9.5 billion and free cash flow of $5.2 billion enabled us to reduce debt, and cover our cash dividend for the third consecutive quarter.

 “We continue to reshape Shell’s portfolio and to transform the company with over $20 billion divestments completed or announced that will strengthen the balance sheet as they are completed.

“Our strategy to deliver a world-class investment case is taking shape. Following the successful integration of BG, we are rapidly transforming Shell through the consistent and disciplined execution of our strategy. This includes investing around $25 billion this year and the delivery of new projects, which we expect to generate $10 billion in cash flow from operating activities by 2018.” 

Meanwhile, Norway’s Statoil oil and gas company reported adjusted operating profit of $3.3 billion in the quarter, against expectations of $2.67 billion. A year ago, adjusted operating profit stood at $857 million.

Cash flows from operating activities more than doubled to $5.97 billion in the first quarter from $2.2 billion last year

Statoil’s quarterly petroleum production stood at 2,146 million barrels of oil equivalents per day (boed) – with N. Sea production from the Norwegian continental shelf hitting the highest level in five years.


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