Shell on Thursday posted first-quarter net profit of $9.65 billion, topping analysts’ forecasts, as strong earnings from fuel trading and higher liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales offset cooling energy prices.
The stronger-than-expected profits followed a string of forecast-beating results from rivals including BP and Exxon Mobil as the sector continues to benefit from strong demand and price volatility. Norwegian rival Equinor on Thursday also posted higher-than-expected quarterly profits.
Lower natural gas prices in the quarter weighed on Shell’s giant integrated gas business, with profits slumping 18% to $4.9 billion. But this was broadly offset by a 139% jump in profits to $1.8 billion in its chemicals and refined products unit.
Shell shares were up 2% by 0830 GMT.
Shell, the world’s top LNG trader, said LNG production rose in the quarter thanks to higher uptime at its Prelude floating facility off the coast of Australia.
Shell kept its dividend unchanged at $0.2875 per share and also kept the rate of its share repurchase programme stable at $4 billion over the next three months, even as its cash generation fell in the quarter. It bought back $19 billion in shares in the year to February 2023, nearly double the total in pre-pandemic 2019.