Shell
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Shell oil and gas profits soar over 200 per cent with £8.5bn turnover

Royal Dutch Shell, popularly known as Shell, has reported a major increase in annual profits to £8.5bn, a leap of 242 per cent on the previous year.

The company has thanked the ‘recovery’ of oil and gas during a ‘year of transformation’ for the business.

The earnings - which reflect day-to-day operations and strip out one-off costs - more than doubled to £11.2bn, aided by a £3bn contribution during the final three months of the year.

Shell said: “Full-year earnings benefited mainly from higher realised oil, gas and liquefied natural gas prices, improved refining performance and higher production from new fields, which offset the impact of field declines and divestments.”

Shell - like its rivals - suffered during a period of weakness for energy prices that saw Brent crude stutter below $30 a barrel in early 2016.

Prices have slowly recovered ground since a short period of decline, and hit a three-year high of $70 recently.

The recovery has also been aided by greater confidence in the world economy. Shell trimmed upstream operations, offloaded non-core businesses and snapped up gas-focused BG Group in 2016 for £47bn as it moved to shield itself from the weak price environment.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive, added: “2017 was a year of strong financial performance for Shell.

“A year of transformation, in which we showed we have what it takes to deliver a world-class investment case. We enter 2018 with continued discipline and confidence, committed to the delivery of strong returns and cash.”

Shares fell two per cent but Steve Clayton, fund manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, reassured: “Full year results for Royal Dutch Shell show the company emerging leaner and healthier after a period of intense pressure for the energy sector.

“Debts have been reduced, costs pared back and Shell now looks well set.”

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