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Calgary Sun: Shell hits new high$

Energy giant tops $2B in profit thanks to high prices, oilsands
Shell Canada CEO Clive Mather said his firm's 2005 earnings of more than $2-billion were “tremendous.”
High energy prices and strong output from the oilsands helped push Shell Canada Ltd.'s profit and production to record levels last year, with earnings topping $2 billion.
The annual financial figures, released by Shell Canada yesterday, were up significantly from the company's 2004 profit of $1.3 billion and fourth-quarter earnings tripled from the previous year to $614 million.
“Breaking through the $2-billion barrier was a tremendous achievement,” said the Calgary-based company's president and CEO Clive Mather.
“Shell Canada ach-ieved record production in 2005, which enabled it to take advantage of strong commodity prices and deliver record earnings and cash flow.”
The energy firm's cash flow last year was up 40% from 2004, eclipsing $3 billion, and record-smashing activity also occurred at Shell Canada's Athabasca Oil Sands Project.
New highs for output and energy prices, along with lower costs associated with producing each barrel of crude, allowed the company to double 2005 oilsands earnings.
In the fourth quarter, Shell Canada — a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC — also increased investment in that area with the acquisition of three more Athabasca oilsands leases, bringing the total number of leases bought by the company through Crown land sales to seven in 2005.
Meanwhile, Canadian Oil Sands Trust reaped the benefits of unhedged oil production.
“Our excellent financial results in 2005, including over $1 billion in cash flow, reflect our full exposure to robust crude oil prices,” said president and CEO Marcel Coutu.
“Fundamentals point to continued strength in crude oil prices and Canadian Oil Sands Trust is in an enviable position to benefit from this market. All of our light, sweet crude oil production remains unhedged.”
Fourth-quarter net income for the trust was $174 million last year, up from $122 million in 2004. And for the year, earnings rose from $509 million in 2004 to $831 million.
The company — which generates income from its 35% working interest in Syncrude — also reported the $8.4-billion Stage 3 expansion at the joint venture is almost complete and on schedule for a mid-2006 start-up.

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