Shell profit nearly halved on weaker oil and gas prices

Oil major Shell nearly halved its profit in the last quarter of 2019 compared to the prior-year period due to lower oil and gas prices. 

Shell’s profit in the fourth quarter of 2019 fell 48% to $2.9 billion from $5.7 billion in the prior-year quarter, according to the company’s report on Thursday.

Shell said that its CCS earnings attributable to shareholders excluding identified items at $2.9 billion reflected lower realized oil, gas and LNG prices, weaker realized refining and chemicals margins as well as negative movements in deferred tax positions, compared with the fourth quarter 2018. This was partly offset by stronger contributions from LNG trading and optimization.

The company’s total revenues in 4Q 2019 dropped to $85 billion from $104.6 billion in the same period of 2018.

For the full year 2019, Shell’s profit was $16.5 billion, a 23% drop compared to $21.4 billion billion in the corresponding period of 2018.

Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer, Ben van Beurden, commented: “The strength of Shell’s strategy and portfolio has enabled delivery of competitive cash flow performance in 2019 despite challenging macroeconomic conditions in refining and chemicals, as well as lower oil and gas prices. We generated $47 billion in cash flow from operating activities excluding working capital movements and distributed over $25 billion in dividends and share buybacks to our shareholders.

“We remain committed to prudent capital discipline supported by world-class project delivery and are looking to further strengthen our balance sheet while we continue with share buybacks. Our intention to complete the $25 billion share buyback program is unchanged, but the pace remains subject to macro conditions and further debt reduction”.