Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Shell profits fall sharply on weak oil demand

Shell petrol attendant
Shell has said the future remains uncertain

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has reported a sharp fall in profits due to falling demand for oil from a weak global economy.

Profits between October and December last year were $1.2bn (£755m), down by 75% from the $4.8bn the company made a year earlier.

For the full year, Shell made $9.8bn, compared with $31.4bn in 2008.

Earlier this month, rival BP reported fourth quarter profits of $3.45bn, up by a third from a year earlier.

Shell also announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs as a part of a $1bn cost-cutting programme in 2010.

The disappointing results pushed Shell shares down 2.1% in early trading in London, more than any other stock.

"Our fourth-quarter 2009 results were impacted by the weak global economy," said Shell's chief executive Peter Voser.

"Oil prices have increased compared with a year ago, but gas prices and refining margins have declined sharply, because of weaker demand and high industry inventory levels."

He added that the outlook for 2010 was uncertain.

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