British energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said yesterday that its net profit for last year rocketed 61 percent to US$20.127 billion, boosted by higher oil prices and rising production levels.
“Our 2010 earnings increased substantially from 2009 levels, driven by improving industry fundamentals, and Shell’s production growth and cost performance,” chief executive Peter Voser said in a results statement. “Fourth-quarter and full-year 2010 earnings were supported by higher oil prices and chemicals margins.”
Shell added that annual net profit, adjusted for the value of inventories of oil and gas, almost doubled to US$18.6 billion, compared with 2009.
Production rose 5 percent to 3.314 million barrels of oil equivalent last year.
Adjusted net profits in the fourth quarter, or three months to December, leaped to US$5.7 billion, from US$1.2 bilion in the same part of 2009.
The impressive results were published two days after crisis-hit rival BP unveiled its first annual loss in almost two decades as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. BP suffered a loss of US$4.9 billion last year.
Anglo-Dutch group Shell added yesterday that it was bolstered by cost-cutting and disposals, while it also invested US$3 billion in exploration activities.
“Shell has a strong focus on continuous improvement, reducing costs, enhancing Shell’s operating performance, and rebalancing the portfolio for profitable growth,” Voser said. “Underlying costs declined by US$2 billion in 2010 compared to 2009, bringing the total underlying cost reduction to some US$4 billion for 2009 and 2010 combined, a reduction of some 10 percent.”
Shell sold off US$7 billion of non-core assest last year, bringing its total asset sales to about US$30 billion over the last five years.
New York oil prices averaged about US$85 per barrel in the fourth quarter, compared with US$76 last time around.
This week, however, London Brent oil rocketed above US$102 per barrel, hitting the highest level since late 2008 as traders fretted the impact of Egypt unrest on global energy supplies.