Royal Dutch Shell sees profits jump as oil price rises

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Royal Dutch Shell's profits surged by 37% in the third quarter of the year on the back of rising oil prices.

The Anglo-Dutch giant said earnings excluding one-off items on a current cost of supply measure (CCS), which strips out price fluctuations, hit $5.6bn (£4.3bn) from $4.1bn last year.

Rising oil and gas prices in the July-to-September period were the main driver of profits.

Shell joins rivals, including BP, in reporting strong results.

However, the figure was lower than a company-provided analysts' consensus forecast of nearly $5.8bn.

Shell's shares fell more than 2% in early trade.

"The figures were impressive, but given the rally in the oil market, and the solid figures from BP during the week, traders were left a little unimpressed with today's update," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

On Tuesday, BP said its profits more than doubled in the third quarter to $3.8bn from $1.86bn a year earlier, its best quarterly result for five years.

After trading at about $67 a barrel at the start of the year, the price of Brent crude oil has risen steadily. It peaked last month at $86 a barrel before slipping back to about $75.

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said: "Good operational delivery across all Shell businesses produced one of our strongest-ever quarters, with cash flow from operations of $14.7bn."

Shell said it had completed the first tranche of a $25bn share buyback programme that it announced in July.

The move fulfils a pledge that it made when it bought oil and gas exploration firm BG Group in 2016.

"Our strategy remains on track," said Mr van Beurden.

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