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Shell Laments Disappointing Gas Trading Results, Blames Everything but Themselves

Posted by John Donovan: July 7, 2023

In a stunning display of humility, Shell, the world’s renowned champion of environmental stewardship, reluctantly admitted that its second-quarter gas trading results are expected to be “significantly lower.” However, they were quick to point out that this is merely a coincidence and has absolutely nothing to do with their own actions or the devastating impact of their business on the planet.

Shell was forced to acknowledge that wholesale gas prices experienced some volatility during April-June, conveniently blaming maintenance work in Norway for the upheaval. How dare those suppliers disrupt Shell’s pristine operations! Adding insult to injury, their own Nyhamna processing plant encountered an unexpected outage, because, well, who needs reliability when you’re an oil giant?

The company casually mentioned seasonality and fewer optimisation opportunities as reasons for their lacklustre gas trading results. Clearly, it’s the whims of the seasons and the universe conspiring against Shell, and not their insatiable greed or disregard for the environment.

Of course, true to form, Shell refused to provide any actual figures or disclose the proportion of their business represented by gas trading. After all, why bother with transparency when you can just blame external factors and keep everyone in the dark?

Meanwhile, the benchmark front-month Dutch gas contract plummeted from triple digits to a measly 32.90 euros per megawatt hour. But fear not, Shell shareholders, as the company’s shares managed to climb a whole 0.5%, because who doesn’t love rewarding polluters?

Financial analysts were quick to excuse Shell’s underwhelming performance. RBC equity analyst Biraj Borkhataria generously remarked that the results were “broadly in line with our forecasts.” Why hold Shell accountable when we can all just lower our expectations to match their abysmal performance?

But that’s not all! Shell also announced that its chemicals and products business would fare poorly in the second quarter, with refining margins forecasted to drop. It seems the universe has conspired once again, affecting not only their gas trading but also their other profitable ventures. Poor, poor Shell.

To top it all off, Shell disclosed $3 billion in writedowns for the quarter, blaming a slight increase in the discount rate used for impairment testing. How unfortunate that the interest rate environment doesn’t align with Shell’s desires! Don’t worry, though, it’s just an accounting move—a mere reflection of the “higher-interest rate environment.” We wouldn’t want to suggest that Shell’s financial practices are anything but impeccable.

Shell is welcome to point out any factual inaccuracies and provide closing comments. We eagerly await their pearls of wisdom and would expect nothing less than a masterclass in deflection and obfuscation.

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