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Shell became the latest Big Oil major to report weaker third-quarter profits as low crude oil and gas prices dented its net result. However, the Anglo-Dutch company managed to beat analyst expectations on the back of strong income from oil and LNG trading.
Shell reported net earnings of $4.676 billion for the third quarter, down 15 percent on the year but up on the second quarter of 2019. Its net result for the first nine months of 2019 was 14 percent lower than the respective period of 2018, once again highlighting the difficult price situation in energy across commodities.
Oil prices have proven to be rather resilient to the production cut efforts of OPEC+ this year, not least because of a deepening worry about global economic growth and, hence, oil demand. With the U.S.-Chinese trade war now going on for over a year, it is understandable that confidence in a positive outcome of the latest round of talks is in short supply.
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Yet Shell is the biggest gas player in the world, and things there have not been particularly bullish either. A surge in U.S. production far exceeding the rise in demand has been tricky for local gas producers, but demand in China has been slowing down, too, affecting prices even more.
LNG, however, has been doing well, at least for Shell, despite the fact prices of the superchilled commodity have not been trending higher either. Sales of oil products also contributed to the strong performance of the supermajor. Although it fell on an annual basis, the net result and the cash position of Shell have proven strong enough to allow it to proceed with the next tranche of its share buyback program. In this tranche, Shell said, it will buy back up to $2.75 billion by January 27 next year.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.