Shell has posted a more than 300 per cent rise in profits for the first quarter of the year, beating analysts’ forecasts, helped by a sharp recovery in oil prices.
Europe’s largest oil company said that based on a current cost of supplies, earnings attributable to shareholders hit $3.38bn (£2.62bn) in the three months to the end of March, compared to $814m in the same period last year.
Net income, also based on CCS and not taking into account exceptional items, increased by 136 per cent to $3.86bn. A poll of analysts provided by the company had forecast net income of $3.05bn.
Shell saw a particularly strong performance in its downstream operations, and chief executive Ben van Beurden said that the company had now completed $20bn of divestments, strengthening its balance sheet.
Its acquisition of BG Group early last year also bolstered results.
Like rival BP, which earlier this month beat analysts’ earnings forecasts for the first quarter of 2017, the price of oil has been a drag on Shell’s earnings in recent years.
In 2014, a global oil glut sent Brent crude tumbling from above $100 a barrel to around $50. It slipped further throughout 2015, hitting less than $40 a barrel in early 2016 – a 13-year low – but was around 35 per cent higher during the first quarter of this year than during the same period of 2016.