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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Shell trims back reserves again
Shell sign
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Beleaguered oil firm Shell has unveiled yet another cut in its oil reserves but said it does not expect to have to do so again.

The firm said it was removing 4.47bn barrels of oil from its 2002 reserves; its last estimated cut was 4.35bn.

It is the fourth time the Anglo-Dutch oil giant has had to restate its reserves since January.

Investor anger has led to the departure of three of Shell's top executives, including chairman Philip Watts.

Shell's share price tumbled in January this year when it first stunned investors by cutting its oil and gas reserves by 20%

The restatements have prompted investigations by both UK and US authorities.

Last month, Shell unveiled a 9% jump in first quarter 2004 profits. In a bid to calm investors, it also announced a share buyback.

'Final fine tuning'

Shell said the latest adjustment to its reserves was due to accountancy policy changes and would not effect reported cash flows.

It added that this is intended to be the final restatement of reserves.

"We're not planning or expecting to make any further changes," said Malcolm Brinded, head of Shell's exploration and production division.

The news had no impact on Shell's share price.

"It is a marginal further increase, but I don't regard it as materially new news," oil analyst Brendan Wilders from Oriel Securities told the Reuters news agency.

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