Shell Bests Big Oil Peers

Shell Bests Big Oil PeersShell Bests Big Oil Peers

Royal Dutch Shell plc topped Wall Street forecasts with strong results across the board during the third quarter, perhaps affirming, as its Big Oil peers have done in recent days, that $50-barrel oil is not so bad.

The Anglo-Dutch major posted profits of $4.1 billion (50 cents/share), versus $2.8 billion a year ago and $3.6 billion in Q2, 2017. Consensus forecasts had estimated Shell’s earnings would hit $3.62 billion in Q3 2017, Natural Gas Intel reported.

Shell, the last to report among oil majors whose operations are weighted to North America, bested rival profits for the period, with ExxonMobil Corp. posting profits of $4 billion, Chevron Corp. coming in at $2 billion and BP plc at $1.9 billion.

Operational cash flow fell by one-third year-on-year to $7.58 billion, the first decline since Q1 2016, which Shell blamed on increases in the value of its oil and gas inventory as crude oil prices rose year-on-year. Excluding the build, cash flow was $10 billion, providing an ample cushion for capital expenditures and dividends.

"All three business units—upstream, downstream and chemicals—contributed to the gains," said CEO Ben van Beurden.

Like his Big Oil peers, van Beurden has guided Shell under the mantra that prices may be “lower forever”.

"Shell's three businesses all made resilient contributions to this strong set of results,” he said.

“Upstream generated almost half of the $10 billion cash flow from operations, excluding working capital this quarter, at an average Brent oil price of $52 per barrel and this was complemented by good cash contributions from our growing integrated gas business and from downstream.

 “This competitive performance is further evidence of Shell's growing momentum and strengthens my firm belief that our strategy is working."

One day after closing more than $4 billion of asset sales overseas, CFO Jessica Uhl told investors on a conference call that Shell is tooled for future success as a “nimbler” performer.

"The LNG business is as strong as Shell expected," Uhl said.

“We believe gas will be the fastest growing hydrocarbon between 2020 and 2030, and we think that LNG will be the fastest growing gas molecule during that period of time.

“We believe it's fundamental to the energy transition, it's fundamental to increasing energy supply that's very much needed and will continue to be needed, as populations grow and quality of life increases across the planet.”


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