Shell up by 8% over quarter

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The Independent Online
WHILE BP's results plunged, Shell managed to increase profits by 8 per cent to pounds 576m after tax in the three months to July, taking the total for the first six months of the year to pounds 1.43bn after tax.

Higher oil prices and an increase in output helped the exploration and production business to boost its earnings by 7 per cent to pounds 309m in the second quarter. North Sea oil prices were dollars 1 a barrel higher than a year earlier.

UK output recovered by 100,000 barrels a day, thanks in part to the completion of safety and maintenance work in the aftermath of the Piper Alpha disaster. Output in the Gulf of Mexico, Malaysia and Brunei also rose.

Profits from manufacturing, marine and marketing (which includes a range of activities from refining oil to operating petrol stations) were 28 per cent higher at pounds 373m in the second quarter, but this reflected the effect of a higher oil price on the value of oil stocks.

The US results benefited from earlier cost savings.

Unlike BP, the Royal Dutch/Shell group is understood not to be planning a huge redundancy programme. The Anglo-Dutch consortium's global workforce fell by 4,000 to 133,000 last year.

Shell's chemicals business lost pounds 18m in the second quarter, when the metals business continued in loss.

Capital spending fell by almost pounds 440m to pounds 1.16bn in the three months to July, which reflected the completion of a number of expensive projects, the company said.

Spending on oil and gas exploration rose by 10 per cent to pounds 190m in the same period.

The group believes oil will trade between dollars 15 and dollars 20 a barrel for the next 20 years.

Shares in Shell Transport and Trading fell 4p to 461p while shares in Royal Dutch also fell, to 145.55 guilders ( pounds 46.65).