It was a bruising day for Europe's energy sector Thursday with the full extent of the pain caused by low oil prices being laid bare in a series of earnings reports.
Anglo–Dutch multinational Royal Dutch Shell reported a loss of $6.1 billion for the third quarter. Its adjusted earnings came in at $1.8 billion, compared with a gain of $5.3 billion for the same quarter a year ago, a decrease of 70 percent. The total quarterly loss included a large $8.2 billion write-off due to a downward revision of its oil and gas price outlook and also a decision to halt projects in Alaska and Canada.
Oswald Clint, senior analyst at Bernstein, called these impairments a "necessary evil" which would allow a "new" Shell to emerge that could focus on natural gas and deep water drilling. James Sparrow, a credit specialist at BNP Paribas. called it a "kitchen sinking" exercise ahead of its merger with BG Group.