Shell profits more than double in first quarter as oil prices rise

Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden
Adrian Dennis | AFP | Getty Images
Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden

Shell has reported higher-than-expected revenues and a doubling of profits for the first quarter of 2017 as higher oil prices buoyed the oil major after a difficult three years.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Revenue: $71.8 billion versus $70.632 billion anticipated by Thomson Reuters analyst expectations.
  • Basic EPS: 41 cents versus 37 cents expected by Thomson Reuters analyst estimates.
  • Earnings (on a current cost of supply basis): $3.8 billion versus estimates of $3.05 billion and up 136 percent from $1.6 billion in Q1 2016.

The major uptick in profits for Shell reflects the ongoing recovery of oil prices, which have approximately doubled since their lows in early 2016. Cost savings and increased cash flow also helped the business compensate for the $54 billion acquisition of British oil and gas company BG Group and cover its dividend for the third consecutive quarter.

Shell's CEO Ben van Beurden said the results showed a "strong quarter" for the business.

"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," van Beurden said in a press announcement.

The oil and gas company is currently implementing a previously announced $20 billion divestment program. This includes restarting operations in Qatar in the second quarter of 2017 and integrating BG Group.

Van Beurden also said that the business would be investing approximately $25 billion in new projects which he expects to general $10 billion in cash flow from operating activities by 2018.

The results follow similar upswings for fellow oil and gas manufacturers BP and ExxonMobil, which were also boosted by efforts to increase oil prices. This included an agreement by OPEC and several non-OPEC countries to trim production.

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