Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, reported its biggest quarterly profit on Thursday, reflecting high oil and natural gas prices spurred by war in Ukraine and tensions in global energy markets.
The company’s adjusted profit of $9.1 billion for the January-March period was nearly triple the $3.2 billion it had earned in the same period a year earlier.
Shell also said it would increase the pace of share buybacks in the second quarter, to $4.5 billion, from $4 billion in the first quarter, and increase the dividend by 4%, to 25. cents per share.
Beyond high energy prices, Shell took advantage of market volatility to reap trading profits. It has also significantly reduced costs during the pandemic, improving profits now that prices and sales volumes have increased.
In a statement, Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden appeared to suggest that the disruptions of the war in Ukraine had demonstrated there was still a need for strong oil and gas companies despite pressures to fight change. climatic.
The war, he said, “has shown that secure, reliable and affordable energy simply cannot be taken for granted”.
Taking advantage of a shortage of diesel and other refined products, Shell’s refining and chemicals units earned $1.2 billion for the quarter, a 50% increase from the same period in 2021 .
Shell has announced that it is gradually withdrawing from oil and gas activities in Russia. On Thursday, the company said it was taking $4.2 billion in pretax write-offs from those companies. The charges included $1.1 billion over the loan it provided to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, which is now stalled, and $1.6 billion related to the ownership of 27 .5% by the company of a liquefied natural gas installation on the island of Sakhalin in the Russian Far East.
Soaring energy prices have produced windfall profits for oil companies. On Tuesday, BP reported its highest profit in a decade, more than doubling from a year earlier.