Highest quarterly result since 2008 on strong oil prices

Shell had adjusted earnings of $ 9.1 billion for the first quarter of 2022.

Ben Stansall | Afp | Getty pictures

LONDON – Oil giant Shell on Thursday reported its highest quarterly result since 2008 on sky-high commodity prices, which calls for a one-off tax on oil and gas companies to help British households with rising energy bills.

Shell had adjusted earnings of $ 9.1[ads1] billion for the three months to the end of March, in line with the expectations of analysts asked by Refinitiv. That compares with $ 3.2 billion in the same period last year and $ 6.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company also announced plans to increase its dividend by around 4% to $ 0.25 per share for the first quarter.

Of the company’s $ 8.5 billion share repurchase program announced for the first half of the year, Shell said $ 4 billion was completed to date. The remaining $ 4.5 billion share buybacks are scheduled to be completed before the announcement of the second quarter results.

Shell’s performance reflects the strongest quarterly result since the second quarter of 2008. It reflects huge gains across the oil and gas industry, although many large energy companies are incurring costly write-downs from leaving Russia.

British rival BP on Tuesday announced plans to increase share buybacks after net profit in the first quarter jumped to its highest level in more than a decade. France’s TotalEnergies, Norwegian Equinor and American oil giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil also reported large profits in the first quarter on sky-high commodity prices.

Shell confirmed that it had taken $ 3.9 billion in tax after taxes in the first quarter as a result of the exit from Russia. The company had previously warned that it could depreciate between $ 4 billion and $ 5 billion in assets after withdrawing from the country. The company said that these costs were not expected to affect adjusted earnings.

“The war in Ukraine is first and foremost a human tragedy, but it has also caused significant disruption in global energy markets and has shown that safe, reliable and affordable energy simply cannot be taken for granted,” said CEO Ben van Beurden in a statement. .

“The consequences of this uncertainty and the higher costs that come with it are felt far and wide. We have been in contact with the authorities, our customers and suppliers to work through the challenging implications and provide support and solutions where we can.”

Shell reported a sharp upswing in the full-year result in 2021 on recurring oil and gas prices.

The shares in the company have risen more than 36% so far this year.

‘Obscene’ profit

Trade unions and environmentalists have branded record profits for British fossil fuel companies as “indecent” at a time when many consumers are struggling with rising energy costs.

Opposition lawmakers have repeatedly called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to impose higher taxes on oil and gas companies to help struggling families.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has suggested that such a policy may be possible if oil and gas companies do not reinvest profits properly. However, Johnson has rejected new demands for an unexpected tax, saying it will discourage investment and keep oil prices high in the long run.

Meanwhile, the EU said on Wednesday that it plans to ban Russian oil imports within six months and refined products by the end of the year in its final round of economic sanctions. The bloc’s proposed measures reflect the widespread anger over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

Oil prices jumped on the news, and contributed to these rises on Thursday morning.

International benchmark Brent crude oil futures traded at $ 110.9 in London, up nearly 0.7% for the session, while US West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $ 108.4, about 0.5% higher.

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