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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Shell profits double
Part of Shell's operation in Nigeria
Problems in Nigeria were outweighed by oil price rises

Shell has become the latest oil company to report record profits, thanks to the higher oil prices in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

The company said net profits rose by 96% to $3.914bn (2.4bn) in the January to March period, a much higher figure than analysts had been expecting.

It means that Shell was earning 27m a day.

Earlier this week rivals Exxon Mobil and BP each announced record figures.

Exxon's profits more than tripled from a year ago while BP's were 132% higher.

All eyes on Opec

The war in Iraq, civil unrest in Nigeria and strikes in Venezuela all helped to push the price of oil to its highest level for 12 years.

Benchmark Brent crude oil averaged $31.50 barrel in the first three months of the year compared with $21.15 a barrel in 2002.

Some of Shell's production was shut down by the problems in Nigeria but the effect of the higher oil price outweighed this.

The company said natural gas prices also rose significantly and earnings in the refining business were substantially higher.

But Shell warned that the level of world oil prices would now depend on how the Opec cartel of oil producing companies controlled supplies.

Exxon profits triple
01 May 03  |  Business
BP posts record profit
29 Apr 03  |  Business

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