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Shell ‘significantly’ boosted by high gas prices

LONDON (AFP) – Royal Dutch Shell said yesterday that it will win a boost from soaring gas prices in the fourth quarter despite supply problems, but cautioned that Omicron weighs on oil demand.

Shell expects “significantly higher” gas revenues in the three months to December thanks to the “high liquid natural gas spot price environment” as it overcomes “ongoing supply issues”.

Oil product sales, however, will be hit by “seasonal trends, the demand impact due to the Omicron virus and foreign exchange impacts in Turkey following a plunge in the Turkish lira.

The energy major’s trading update was published ahead of its fourth-quarter results on February 3.

Shell, like its rivals, slumped into a huge loss in 2020 as the long-running coronavirus pandemic slashed energy demand and crude prices.

However, European gas prices have blazed a record-breaking trail over the past year on strong winter demand and simmering geopolitical tensions between key supplier Russia and consumer nations.

Runaway spot gas prices, alongside other buoyant commodities including crude oil, have fuelled mounting concern about spiking inflation worldwide.

Meanwhile, Shell is distributing USD7 billion to shareholders from the sale agreed last year of its assets in the shale-oil rich Permian Basin of the United States to rival ConocoPhillips.

The group added yesterday that it would distribute the remaining USD5.5 billion of the proceeds in the form of share buybacks.

The news comes after Shell shareholders voted overwhelmingly last month to switch the group’s headquarters from the Netherlands to Britain after a century and drop Royal Dutch from the name.

Europe’s biggest energy firm says the move will simplify its tax and share arrangements, and speed up its transition from fossil fuels that cause climate change.