Page last updated at 06:39 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 07:39 UK

Lower oil prices hit Shell profit

Shell petrol pumps
Shell is the latest oil giant to report markedly lower profits

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has posted a sharp fall in quarterly profits following declines in the oil price.

Profit for the first three months of 2009 fell to $3.3bn (£2.24bn), down 58% from the same period a year ago and 31% lower than the previous quarter.

The price of crude oil has recently been at about $50 a barrel, down from a record high of $147 last July.

On Tuesday, rival oil firm BP said its first-quarter profits had fallen 62% from a year ago.

Chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said that the weaker global economy - which has cut demand for oil - had made for a "challenging" business environment.

"We are taking a prudent approach to this downturn, focussed on sustaining a strong position in the energy landscape," he added.

Restrictions in output imposed by the producer cartel Opec, and continuing security problems in Nigeria, had led to lower levels of oil and gas production, Shell said.



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