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Daily Telegraph: Shell trumps rivals in lifting third qtr profits

By Richard Blackden
Last Updated: 7:54am BST 25/10/2007

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell delivered further evidence that it is in better shape than rival BP after reporting an increase in third-quarter profits.

Pre-tax profits climbed 6.7pc to $11.5bn in the quarter despite a drop in refining margins, or the money made turning crude oil into gas and diesel. BP, which was also hit by a decline in margins, on Tuesday reported a drop in pre-tax profits for the period. ConocoPhillips yesterday saw its profits decline 5.2pc to $3.7bn as refining margins narrowed.

Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said of the results: “Given the weaker industry refining margins we have seen in the quarter, these are satisfactory results, underpinned by Shell’s operating performance.”

Shell shareholders have seen the stock gain 15pc so far this year, almost double that of BP. During a period of record oil prices, Shell is planning to boost production in an effort to take advantage. In combination with Saudi Arabia, the Anglo-Dutch company has spelt out plans to spend $7bn to double the size of its refinery at Port Arthur in Texas.

Oil majors are desperate to secure new reserves and increase the efficiency of production with crude fetching record prices. After breaking the $90 a barrel mark for the first time this month, some analysts are predicting prices will move past $100 before the year is out.

Shell said it will pay its dividend in dollars rather than euros and declared a dividend for the quarter of 36 cents a share, up 14pc from the same period in 2006.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/10/25/bcnshell125.xml

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