The group was also helped by a strong performance from its liquefied natural gas businessSERGEI KARPUKHIN / REUTERS

Royal Dutch Shell has reported a 69 per cent rise in profits to $5.7 billion for the first quarter on the back of higher oil and gas prices.

The Anglo-Dutch oil group said it had also benefited from a particularly strong performance in its “integrated gas” business, which includes production and shipping of liquefied natural gas, and from improved profits from exploration and production.

Underlying profits, stripping out one-off items, rose 42 per cent to $5.3 billion, the highest quarterly profit since the third quarter of 2014 and marginally above analysts’ expectations. A slight decline in free cashflow compared with the same period a year ago appeared to unnerve investors, however, and Shell’s shares fell 2 per cent in early trading.

Shell, which has its…