Royal Dutch Shell Well Fed, but a Little Gassy

27 April 2018, 12:34 | Andres Norman

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Oil Hits $50 Per Barrel

Oil prices have been bouncing back over the past year, helping Shell triple bottom-line profits to £8.5 billion in 2017.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell stock traded up GBX 21 ($0.29) during trading on Wednesday, reaching GBX 2,502.50 ($34.90).

Shell's current cost of supply (CCS) earnings attributable to shareholders excluding identified items-its in-house metric for net profit-jumped to US$5.322 billion in Q1 2018, up from US$3.754 billion for the same period a year ago, and ahead of analyst expectations of US$5.2 billion.

Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday it would write down its reserves in the Groningen gas field, one of Europe's largest, following the Dutch government's decision to phase out production by 2030.

The company also liquefies gas; converts natural gas to liquids to provide fuels and other products; markets and transports oil and gas; and extracts bitumen from mined oil sands and converts it to synthetic crude oil.

However, Shell's CFO Jessica Uhl did not specify when the group would begin those buybacks, saying that the oil major would focus on cutting debt and paying dividends first.

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Oil prices have benefited from the tense political landscape.

With Shell's output up 2 percent at 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) and Total's production rising 5 percent to 2.7 million boe/d in the quarter, both were well positioned to capture the price upswing in benchmark oil prices.

After falling short of expectations in the previous quarter, Shell's cash flow from operations in the first three months of 2018 recovered to $9.43 billion, which was still slightly weaker from $9.5 billion a year earlier.

Net income attributable to shareholders, based on a current cost of supplies (CCS) and excluding identified items, rose to $5.322 billion, topping a company-provided analysts' consensus of $5.277 billion. Gas production was up almost 10% on the year-from just a 2% rise the previous quarter-and earnings jumped 67% to $5.9 billion, the highest for one quarter since 2013. Earnings for the segment nearly tripled from a year earlier.

Income from the refining and marketing segment, known as downstream, weakened due to lower refining margins and plant availability. The stock has increased 35 percent in the last 12 months.

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