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By Andrew Johnson: Friday July 30, 2010

ROYAL Dutch Shell yesterday expressed confidence in its safety standards in the wake of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill as it unveiled a near doubling in profits to $4.5billion (£2.9billion) for the second quarter to June.

Chief executive Peter Voser (right) said the disaster was a “tragedy” that would have “far-reaching implications” for the whole industry.

Stricter rules are expected to drive up costs. However, he said Shell already complied with or exceeded most of the changes to safety regulations now being proposed, before adding: “At the end of the day, you will not be in a position to say it will never happen, because accidents do happen.”

Shell took a $56million hit from the deep water drilling ban imposed by the US government after the spill, which is expected to cost three million barrels of oil this year in production. Voser did not rule out trying to reclaim the money from BP.

The company saw profits rise by 94 per cent during the second quarter, while those for the first half rose 67 per cent to $9.4billion, as it benefited from higher oil prices and bigger than expected gains from its restructuring programme, which was completed six months earlier than expected.

This has seen $3.5billion slashed from annual costs at the expense of 7,000 jobs. Shell is also looking to accelerate its asset disposal programme by selling $7billion to $8billion of assets over the next year, rather than $2 billion originally highlighted. Most will come in refining, chemicals and petrol station operations globally, with Shell looking to increase production from 3.2 million barrels a day last year to 3.5 million by 2012.

“We may not be the only company targeting 3.5 million barrels a day but we are travelling in the right direction,” said finance director Simon Henry in a dig at BP, which has said its own production would fall from 4 million barrels to 3.5 million following its asset sales.

Voser defended deep water drilling, saying it would have an “important role” in global energy supply in the future.

The company is one of those involved in setting up a $1billion Gulf of Mexico “spill containment” unit. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.


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