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Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Profits soar at oil giant
Shell petrol pump
High oil prices have driven up Shell's profits
Oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group has seen its profits jump, helped by strong oil and gas prices.

The Anglo-Dutch giant reported a 95% increase in second quarter profits. It achieved earnings adjusted for current costs of $3.15bn compared with $1.61bn in the corresponding period last year.

The huge jump in profits cames as the rising cost of oil has provoked a wave of consumer anger in the UK and elsewhere.

Consumer protests culminated in campaigners calling for a boycott of petrol stations on Tuesday.

Oil prices have come off their highs, having hit about $33 a barrel earlier in the year.

Shell said it expected crude oil prices to remain above $20 a barrel for the rest of the year.

Buoyant oil markets

Net income for the second quarter of 2000 stood at $3.21bn, Shell said.

The results were in line with analysts' forecasts for adjusted current cost net earnings of $3.0bn-3.25bn.

The group said it had achieved cost cuts of $3bn annually and was now "well ahead of schedule" towards its target of reducing expenses by $4bn a year by 2001.

Exploration and production earnings were 160% higher on the period at $2.12bn reflecting buoyant world oil and gas markets.

Earnings from downstream gas and power increased by 85% to $165m, largely due to higher margins in liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations and new LNG plants coming on stream in Oman and Nigeria.

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