LONDON (AFP) – Shell swung back into massive profit last year, the energy giant revealed yesterday, as oil and gas prices rocketed on recovering demand and geopolitical unrest.
Shell said in a statement that net profit stood at USD20.1 billion after a loss after tax of USD21.7 billion in 2020, as economies reopened from pandemic lockdowns.
“2021 was a momentous year for Shell,” said Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden, noting that the group also simplified its name and structure and outlined plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions.
Following the bumper earnings, Shell said it planned a share buyback programme totalling USD8.5 billion.
“Following the pandemic squalls which decimated the oil price and indeed profits, Shell has returned to form as it finds itself awash with cash,” said Head of Markets at Interactive Investor Richard Hunter.
As lockdowns spread in 2020, oil prices dropped off a cliff, even briefly turning negative.
Prices have since rebounded sharply, with the benchmark Brent North Sea oil contract trading at almost USD90 per barrel, weighing on business costs and individuals’ spending power as inflation worries mount worldwide.
Shell revenue jumped 45 per cent to USD261.5 billion last year, the group said.
Shell’s annual performance was largely helped by a net profit of almost USD11.5 billion in the fourth quarter, the result also of asset sales.
The group had suffered a loss after tax of USD447 million in the third quarter of last year after a big accounting write-off.
European gas prices have also blazed a record-breaking trail over the past year on strong winter demand and the unrest between key supplier Russia and consumer nations.