Anglo-Dutch Shell reported a net profit of $5.5 billion for the second quarter of the year on the back of stronger oil prices and said it will buy back $2 billion worth of shares.
The company also booked free cash flow of $9.7 billion for the period, up from $200 million a year earlier, and reduced its net debt to $65.7 billion from $77.8 billion for the second quarter of 2020.
“We are stepping up our shareholder distributions today, increasing dividends and starting share buybacks, while we continue to invest for the future of energy,” chief executive Ben van Beurden said. “The quality of Shell’s operational and financial delivery and strengthened balance sheet have given the Board confidence to rebase the dividend per share from Q2 2021 onwards to 24 US cents.”
While Shell improved its performance thanks to the higher price of oil, Shell was also recently targeted in a court case to reduce its oil and gas production. In an unprecedented ruling, the Dutch judge ordered the company to sharply reduce its emissions, which it can only realistically do by cutting its oil and gas production.
Shell is appealing the ruling.
Meanwhile, the company is boosting its renewable energy presence, most recently with the acquisition of green energy retailer Inspire Energy Capital in the United States. The Anglo-Dutch supermajor said earlier this year it will increase spending on renewable energy and low-carbon technologies to a quarter of its overall budget by 2025.
At the same time, it remains committed to its core business. Earlier this month, the company said it had made the final investment decision on the Whale deepwater oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. This will be Shell’s second deepwater project in the Gulf of Mexico, but it expects an internal rate of return of over 25 percent from it, thanks to technological advancements that have brought down production costs.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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