Shell Files First Quarterly Loss in 10 Years

Royal Dutch Shell's fourth quarter 2008 earnings, on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis, were $4.8 billion compared to $6.7 billion a year ago. Basic CCS earnings per share decreased by 27% versus the same quarter a year ago.

Full year 2008 CCS earnings were $31.4 billion compared to $27.6 billion for the full year 2007. Basic CCS earnings per share for the full year 2008 increased by 16% when compared to 2007.

Cash flow from operating activities for the fourth quarter 2008 was $10.3 billion. Net capital investment for the quarter was $6.8 billion. Total cash returned to shareholders, in the form of dividends and share repurchases, was $2.7 billion.

A fourth quarter 2008 dividend has been announced of $0.40 per share, an increase of 11% over the US dollar dividend for the same period in 2007.

The first quarter 2009 dividend is expected to be declared at $0.42 per share, an increase of 5% compared to the first quarter 2008 US dollar dividend.

Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer commented, "We delivered satisfactory performance in the fourth quarter of 2008, given the pressure on demand for oil and gas due to a weaker global economy. Our strategy remains to pay competitive and progressive dividends, and to make significant investments in the company for future profitability. Industry conditions remain challenging, and we are continuing the focus on capital and cost discipline in Shell."

KEY FEATURES OF THE FOURTH QUARTER 2008 AND FULL YEAR 2008

Fourth quarter 2008 CCS earnings were $4,785 million, 28% lower than in the same quarter a year ago. Full year 2008 CCS earnings were $31,366 million, 14% higher than in 2007.

Fourth quarter 2008 reported results were a loss of $2,810 million compared to earnings of $8,467 million in the same quarter a year ago, reflecting the impact of downstream net realised inventory effects as a consequence of applying the first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory accounting method, under IFRS accounting rules. Full year 2008 reported income was $26,277 million, 16% lower than in 2007.

Basic CCS earnings per share decreased by 27% versus the same quarter a year ago. Full year 2008 basic CCS earnings per share increased 16% when compared to 2007.

Total cash returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases in the fourth quarter 2008 was $2.7 billion, bringing the total for the full year 2008 to $13.1 billion.

Cash flow from operating activities was $10.3 billion compared to $5.3 billion for the same quarter last year. Full year 2008 cash flow from operating activities was $43.9 billion compared to $34.5 billion in 2007.

Capital investment for the fourth quarter 2008 was $9.2 billion. Net capital investment (capital investment, less divestment proceeds) for the fourth quarter 2008 was $6.8 billion, bringing the total for the full year 2008 to some $32 billion, lower than previously planned, as divestment proceeds for the year exceeded prior expectations. Net capital investment for 2009 is expected to be in the range of $31 to $32 billion, balancing Shell's commitments to projects under construction and growth, with the more challenging economic landscape in 2009.

Return on average capital employed (ROACE), on a reported income basis (see Note 3), was 18.3%.

Gearing was 7.5% at the end of the fourth quarter 2008 versus 7.9% at the end of the fourth quarter 2007. Gearing including certain off-balance sheet obligations was 23.1% at the end of the fourth quarter 2008 versus 16.6% at the end of the fourth quarter 2007 (see Note 5).

Oil and gas production, including oil sands production, for the fourth quarter 2008 was 3,415 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), essentially unchanged compared to the same quarter last year (3,436 thousand boe/d). New field start-ups and increased production from existing producing facilities offset natural field declines and the residual impact to production resulting from hurricanerelated shut-ins in the USA during the third quarter 2008. Production in the fourth quarter 2008 excluding the impact of divestments, production sharing contracts (PSC) pricing effects, OPEC quota restrictions and hurricanes increased by 2% compared to the same quarter last year.

Full year 2008 oil and gas production, including oil sands production, was 3,248 thousand boe/d, compared to 3,315 thousand boe/d in 2007. Production for the full year 2008 excluding the impact of divestments, production sharing contracts (PSC) pricing effects, OPEC quota restrictions and hurricanes was in line with 2007.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sales volumes of 3.36 million tonnes were 1% higher than in the same quarter a year ago. Full year 2008 LNG sales were 13.05 million tonnes compared to 13.18 million tonnes in 2007.

Oil Products refinery availability was 90%, compared to 94% in the fourth quarter 2007 (91% for the full year 2008 which is at the same level as in 2007). Chemicals manufacturing plant availability was 93%, unchanged from the fourth quarter 2007 (94% for the full year 2008 versus 93% in 2007). Oil Sands upgrader availability was 87%, 8% higher than in the same quarter last year (93% for the full year 2008 versus 89% in 2007).

SUMMARY OF IDENTIFIED ITEMS

Shell's Earnings in the fourth quarter 2008 reflected the following items, which in aggregate amounted to a net gain of $897 million (compared to a net gain of $963 million in the fourth quarter 2007):

  • Exploration & Production earnings included a net gain of $1,303 million, reflecting gains from divestments of $1,104 million and a gain of $261 million related to the mark-to-market valuation of certain UK gas contracts, which were partly offset by impairment charges of $62 million. Earnings for the fourth quarter 2007 included a net gain of $715 million.
  • Gas & Power earnings included a charge of $55 million, reflecting an impairment of $44 million and a charge of $11 million related to the mark-to-market valuation of certain gas contracts. Earnings for the fourth quarter 2007 included a charge of $7 million.
  • Oil Sands earnings for the fourth quarter 2007 included a gain of $94 million.

Shell's Fourth quarter Exploration & Production segment earnings were $3,710 million compared to $4,867 million a year ago. Earnings included a net gain of $1,303 million related to identified items, compared to a net gain of $715 million in the fourth quarter 2007 (see page 4 for details).

Earnings compared to the fourth quarter 2007 reflected the impact of lower oil prices on revenues, lower production volumes in the USA as a consequence of the third quarter 2008 hurricanes, and higher exploration expenses, which were partly offset by reduced royalty expenses.

Global liquids realizations were 31% lower than in the fourth quarter 2007. Global gas realizations were 13% higher than a year ago. Outside the USA, gas realizations increased by 22% whereas in the USA gas realizations decreased by 14%.

Shell's Fourth quarter 2008 production (excluding oil sands bitumen production) was 3,336 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) compared to 3,381 thousand boe/d a year ago. Crude oil production was down 6% and natural gas production was up 4% compared to the fourth quarter 2007.

Production in the fourth quarter 2008 was supported by new field start-ups since the end of the fourth quarter 2007, which contributed some 80 thousand boe/d of new production to the quarter. New field start-ups include Angel (Shell share 22.3%) and Vincent (Shell share 20.6%) in Australia, E11 Hub Stage 2 (Shell share 50%), M3S (Shell share 70%) and Saderi (Shell share 37.5%) in Malaysia, Starling (Shell share 28%) and Curlew C (Shell share 100%) in the United Kingdom and Sakhalin (Shell share 27.5%), from the Piltun-Astokhskoye B platform, in Russia. In addition, production volumes were supported by continued growth at Stybarrow (Shell share 17.1%) and Geographe & Thylacine (Shell share 17.7%) in Australia, Champion West Phase 3B/C (Shell share 50%) in Brunei, Duvernay (Shell share 100%) in Canada, Changbei (Shell share 50%) in China, Ormen Lange (Shell share 17%) in Norway and West Salym (Shell share 50%) in Russia.

Full year Exploration & Production segment earnings were $20,235 million compared to $14,686 million a year ago. Earnings included a net gain of $1,910 million related to identified items, compared to a net gain of $1,102 million in 2007.

Earnings compared to full year 2007 reflected the benefit of higher oil and gas prices on revenues, which was partly offset by increased exploration expenses, lower production volumes, particularly in the USA mainly as a consequence of hurricane impacts during the third quarter 2008, higher operating costs and royalty expenses.

Global liquids realizations were 36% higher than in 2007. Global gas realisations were 33% higher than a year ago. Outside the USA, gas realizations increased by 36% whereas in the USA gas realizations increased by 33%.

Full year 2008 production (excluding oil sands bitumen production) was 3,170 thousand boe/d compared to 3,234 thousand boe/d a year ago. Crude oil production was down 7% and natural gas production was up 4% compared to 2007.

Shell's Production for the full year 2008 was supported by new field start-ups since the end of the fourth quarter 2007, which contributed some 30 thousand boe/d of new production to the full year 2008. New field start-ups include E11 Hub Stage 2 (Shell share 50%) in Malaysia and Starling (Shell share 28%) in the United Kingdom. In addition, production volumes were supported by continued growth at Stybarrow (Shell share 17.1%) in Australia, Champion West Phase 3B/C (Shell share 50%) in Brunei, Duvernay (Shell share 100%) in Canada, Changbei (Shell share 50%) in China, Ormen Lange (Shell share 17%) in Norway, West Salym (Shell share 50%) in Russia and Deimos (Shell share 71.5%) in the USA.

Fourth Quarter Portfolio Developments

  • In Australia, first gas was delivered from the Angel field (Shell share 22.3%).
  • In Russia, the Sakhalin II project (Shell share 27.5%) started production from the Piltun-Astokhskoye B platform and began year-round oil exports.
  • In Nigeria, the AFAM Gas and Power project started up. First gas was supplied to the power plant, with a peak production (Shell share 30%) of approximately 20 thousand boe/d.
  • Also in Nigeria, Shell completed the divestment of offshore deepwater blocks OML 125 (Abo field) and 134 with total sale proceeds of some $0.6 billion and a production impact of approximately 7 thousand boe/d.
  • In the United Kingdom, Shell completed the sale of a number of northern North Sea assets.
  • In the Netherlands the sale of assets situated along the NOGAT pipeline was completed. The consolidated production impact is approximately 27 thousand boe/d (Shell share) and total sale proceeds are some $0.9 billion.

 

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