Oil giant Shell posts full-year profit beat, announces $3.5 billion share buyback

Environment

A Shell logo displayed on a sign at a gas station in Nakuru, Kenya.
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British oil giant Shell on Thursday beat expectations for full-year profit and announced a $3.5 billion share buyback program.

Shell reported adjusted earnings of $28.25 billion for the full-year 2023, a 29% drop compared to its highest-ever annual profit of $39.9 billion the year prior.

Analysts had expected Shell’s full-year 2023 net profit to come in at $27.5 billion, according to an LSEG-compiled consensus.

Shell posted stronger-than-anticipated adjusted earnings of $7.31 billion for the final quarter of 2023.

The company said the results reflected strong liquefied natural gas trading and optimization margins, offsetting weaker oil products trading.

Shell said a share buyback program of $3.5 billion is set to be carried out over the next three months. The firm added it had now completed another $3.5 billion of share buybacks announced in November last year.

Net debt was reduced to $43.5 billion by the end of the year, compared with $40.5 billion at the end of the third quarter.

Shares of the London-listed stock are down around 4.8% in the year to date.

Earlier this month, Shell cited impairment charges of up to $4.5 billion for the final three months of the year. The company said on Jan.8 that the non-cash impairment charge was primarily driven by macro and external developments, as well as portfolio choices, including its Singapore refining and chemicals hub, which Reuters reports it intends to sell.

Oil prices were slightly higher on Thursday morning in London.

International benchmark Brent crude futures traded up 0.1% at $80.6 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures traded 0.1% higher at $75.92 per barrel.

Both Brent and WTI contracts fell around 10% in 2023, during a volatile trading year, with prices fluctuating amid geopolitical tensions and demand concerns.

U.S oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron are both scheduled to report earnings on Friday, while European peers BP and TotalEnergies are poised to follow suit next week.

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