Shell profits soar after oil price highs

The soaring price of crude oil helped Royal Dutch Shell post a 41 per cent rise in profits in the first three months of the year. The oil major reported net profits of $6.9bn (£4.1bn) in the first quarter, up from $4.8bn a year earlier.

Peter Voser, Shell's chief executive, said the results were driven by "higher industry margins and our own operating performance". The group introduced a $1bn cost-cutting programme last month and Mr Voser has aimed to up production to 3.7 million barrels a day within two years. Shell expects to deliver 20 new projects in the next three years.

Tony Shepard, an analyst at Charles Stanley, said it was a "good set of results" that easily beat the consensus estimates. He added: "Clearly, Shell is delivering superior performance to some other oil majors." This came a day after BP reported lower profits as the Deepwater Horizon disaster continues to weigh.

US rival ExxonMobil also reported first quarter profits yesterday, posting a 70 per cent rise to $10.7bn. Rex Tillerson, chairman of the group, said the earnings reflected "continued leadership in operational performance during a period of strong commodity prices".

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