Shell reports biggest ever UK profits

Oil company Royal Dutch Shell have reported the largest ever profits recorded for a UK-listed firm.

The firm reported earnings of $22.94 billion (£12.96 billion) - the equivalent of nearly £1.5 million every hour.

The figures were up almost a third on last year's profit of $17.9 billion (£9.8 billion).

The results come after a year which saw the price of crude oil rise from $45 a barrel to a record high of $70, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Most of Shell's profits come from extracting oil and gas from the ground and this division was boosted because of the rising oil costs due to the bad hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as political tensions in a number of oil producing countries.

However, the hurricanes affected production at Shell, with output falling to 3.5 million during the last quarter.

Jeroen van der Veer, Shell's Chief Executive, said: "Our good performance in the fourth quarter 2005 gives us a solid platform to build on in 2006."

Shell's results come after Texas-based oil company Exxon Mobile announced profits of $33.86 billion (£19.2 billion) last year, the largest in corporate history.

Shell's UK rival, BP, is due to report their full year profits next week.


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