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Shell profit tumbles as lower crude price hurts

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) posted a sharp fall in earnings for the first three months of 2016 on Wednesday, as the tumble in oil prices continued to take its toll.

Earnings on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis came in at $0.8 billion, versus $4.8 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

A first quarter dividend of $0.47 per ordinary share and $0.94 per American Depositary Share (ADS) was announced.

Excluding identified items, CCS earnings for the quarter read $1.55 billion. Analysts expected $1.04 billion, according to Reuters.

The results were the first Shell has posted since its acquisition of BG Group in February. The $54 billion buy will give Shell greater access to Brazil's deepwater oil fields.

"We continue to reduce our spending levels, to capture cost opportunities and manage the financial framework in today's lower oil price environment. The combination with BG is off to a strong start," Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said on Wednesday in the earnings report.

The rout in energy prices has hit oil majors hard. Crude oil prices have gained for much of the year, but remain far below the levels above $100 per barrel reached before the market began tanking in June 2014.

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Shell rival, BP, reported better-than-expected first-quarter profits last week, partially fueled by cost control measures.

Shell A and B shares are listed in Amsterdam, London and New York. Both A and B-listed shares on the London Stock Exchange traded around 1.8 percent lower after the results were out.

Jason Gammel, equities analyst at Jefferies, was positive about Shell's BG purchase when he spoke to CNBC on Wednesday.

"They have basically absorbed BG now, without increasing their cost structure," he told CNBC after the results were out.

"(They) have been able to introduce a set of investment opportunities that will have among the highest returns in the industry in Brazil and (they) have been able to create a real powerhouse in LNG sales, so it is very exciting," he later added.

Shell CFO Simon Henry will host a webcast to discuss the results at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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