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Shell Q1 profits beat forecasts on record oil

Royal Dutch Shell Plc beat all forecasts with a 12% rise in Q1 current cost of supply net earnings, helped by record oil prices which broke $100/barrel in the period.

Excluding non-operating items, which amounted to a net charge of $77 million, the CCS result, which strips out the impact of changes in the value of fuel inventories, was $7.85 billion.

A Reuters poll of 11 analysts gave an average forecast of $6.84 billion for Shell's first quarter CCS earnings, excluding non-operating items. The highest forecast was $6.99 billion.

The Hague-based company said production averaged 3.52 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the first three months of the year, compared with 3.51 million boepd in the same period last year.

Analysts had predicted output would fall to 3.40 million boepd.

After five years of falling production, the world's second-largest non-government-controlled oil company by market capitalization has been struggling to expand output.

Refining and fuel marketing profits fell 20% due to an industry-wide collapse in crude processing margins, although the result was better than analysts had expected.

Shell said a refund of royalty payments helped boost profits at its oil sands division, which squeezes crude from bitumen-drenched soil in Canada, where many analysts had expected earnings to fall due to lower production. (Reuters)