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Shell and BP bounce back into profit even as oil’s glory days fade

Shell and BP bounce back into profit even as oil’s glory days fade

Covid dealt fossil fuel giants a heavy blow, but demand is lifting revenues again in a last hurrah before decarbonisation

Jillian Ambrose
Sat 24 Apr 2021 16.00 BST: The Observer
The world’s biggest oil companies are preparing to mark an end to the darkest year in the industry’s history with a return to profit that could be the last hurrah for fossil fuels. Royal Dutch Shell and BP are among the companies expected to report quarterly profits from producing oil for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19.

The tentative reopening of the world’s economies has helped push international crude prices above $65 a barrel. They plunged to 21-year lows of less than $20 a barrel last year as major economies came to a standstill, triggering the sharpest slump in oil demand in the industry’s history.

Shell told investors earlier this month that it expects to make its first profit from pumping oil since the start of the pandemic when it reports first-quarter results on 29 April. This represents a dramatic turn from the company’s almost $20bn (£14.7bn) loss for last year after the impact of Covid-19 stripped about $22bn from the value of its oil and gas assets.

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