Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) posted a healthy jump in quarterly earnings on Thursday, as its newly-installed CEO works to cut costs and streamline projects.
The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant posted second-quarter earnings of $5.1 billion on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis on Thursday, up from $2.4 billion in the same quarter a year before.
Shares in the company rose 2.5 percent at Thursday's open.
"Our financial performance for the second quarter of 2014 was more robust than year-ago levels but I want to see stronger, more competitive results right across the company, particularly in Oil Products and North America resources plays," said CEO Ben van Beurden in the company's results report on Thursday.
Quarterly earnings included an net charge of $1.0 billion after tax, mainly reflecting impairments to its upstream Americas business. CCS refers to the company's net income after taking into account any changes in expenses.
The company has suffered multiple cost overruns on key projects and struggled with an underperforming downstream business, while critics say it has failed to leverage its American shale assets well.
"We are taking firm actions to improve Shell's capital efficiency by selling selected assets and making tougher project decisions. We have completed some $8 billion of asset sales so far in 2014," said van Beurden.
Shell announced a second-quarter 2014 dividend of 47 cents per ordinary share. It expects to make $7–8 billion of share buybacks for 2014 and 2015 combined, of which $1.6 billion were completed in the first half of this year.
The FTSE 100 company has a number of big projects upcoming that should help boost production.
"We've continued to ramp up production at Mars B in the Gulf of Mexico – part of Shell's industry-leading deep-water portfolio – and our exploration program is delivering, with new finds in the Gulf of Mexico and Malaysia," said van Beurden.
Van Beurden, a 30-year veteran of Shell, took the top spot following the retirement of Peter Voser at the start of this year.