May 4, 2017

Strong oil earnings fail to ease fears over crude slide

Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday rounded off the strongest set of quarterly results from "Big oil" for over two years, even as a fresh slide in crude prices raised doubts over the sustainability of recovery from one of the deepest downturns in industry history. Statoil of Norway and Repsol of Spain also announced better than expected quarterly results on Thursday, reflecting the 60 per cent increase in crude prices over the past year to an average of $54.61 a barrel during the reporting period. There was still little sign of exuberance from industry leaders as they reported their strong numbers against the backdrop of renewed deterioration in oil prices. Brent crude fell below $50 per barrel on Thursday to its lowest level since November as confidence in Opec's ability to overpower a resurgent US shale industry and ease a global oil surplus faded. As well as low oil prices, Shell has faced the additional challenge of financing its £35bn acquisition of BG Group, completed last year during the depths of the downturn.

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