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Shell will report estimated earnings of $4.4 billion (£2.8 billion)

Sunday October 24,2010

By Tracey Boles

OIL giant Royal Dutch Shell will confirm its star is rising this week by reporting estimated earnings of $4.4 billion (£2.8 billion) for the third quarter, up almost 70 per cent on last year.

The earnings haul for the Anglo-Dutch company compares to $2.6 billion (£1.6 billion) in the third quarter of 2009 and has been driven by its exploration and production arm, much of it from gas revenues.

Analysts at Citigroup said Shell’s expected earnings growth represented “the strongest momentum in its peer group’. It added 2011 could be the “year of project delivery” for the oil group as two massive projects in Qatar come onstream and the firm ramps up its Canadian oil sands project.

Shell’s troubled arch-rival BP will report third-quarter earnings on November 2. Despite the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, underlying profits are forecast to be $4.8billion (£3 billion), slightly up from $4.7 billion (£2.9 billion) reported a year ago.

However, the figure does not include any write offs due to the Gulf spill and resulting environmental disaster. At the time of the spill BP was Britain’s biggest company. The disaster wiped billions off the value of the company and cost chief executive Tony Hayward his job. It also led to a $17 billion (£10.8 billion) loss in the second quarter due to a massive write off for the spill.

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