Oil giant Shell beats first-quarter profit estimates, launches $3.5 billion share buyback

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The Shell logo is displayed outside a petrol station in Radstock on February 17, 2024 in Somerset, England.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images News | Getty Images

British oil giant Shell on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit, boosted by higher refining margins and robust oil trading.

Shell reported adjusted earnings of $7.7 billion for the first three months of the year, beating analyst expectations of $6.5 billion, according to an LSEG-compiled consensus.

A year earlier, the company posted adjusted earnings $9.6 billion over the same period and $7.3 billion for the final three months of 2023.

Shell CEO Wael Sawan described the results as “another quarter of strong operational and financial performance.”

The company announced a $3.5 billion share buyback program, which it expects to complete over the next three months. Its dividend remains unchanged.

Shell shares are up nearly 10% year-to-date.

Shell’s first-quarter profit was down roughly 20% compared to the same period a year earlier, reflecting a broader energy industry trend. 

U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron, as well as France’s TotalEnergies and Norway’s Equinor, all reported a steep year-on-year fall in first-quarter profits last week.

The world’s largest oil and gas majors posted record full-year profits in 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. More recently, however, revenues have been hit by tumbling gas prices.

Spot gas prices in Europe have fallen more than 45% over the last year, due in part to mild winter weather and an abundance of supplies.

Shell’s British rival BP is scheduled to report its first-quarter earnings on May 7.

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