Royal Dutch Shell on Wednesday reported a massive drop in quarterly earnings and announced sharp cost cuts to offset the plunge in global oil prices. However, despite the decline in earnings, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant still topped analysts’ expectations.
In the three-month period ending March 31, Shell — which recently completed a $50 billion acquisition of British oil and gas company BG Group — said that its adjusted earnings on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis, excluding one-off items and inventory changes, was $1.55 billion, down from $3.74 billion in the same period last year but higher than analysts’ forecasts of $1.04 billion.
Quarterly profit on a CCS basis, meanwhile, dropped 83 percent on-year to $814 million in the first quarter of 2016, from $4.76 billion in the first quarter of the previous year.
In a statement accompanying the earnings report, the company said that it plans to reduce capital investment in 2016 to $30 million, down from its previous guidance of $33 billion.
“We continue to reduce our spending levels, to capture cost opportunities and manage the financial framework in today’s lower oil price environment. The combination with BG is off to a strong start, as a result of detailed forward planning before the completion of the transaction,” Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said. “In practice, we expect to absorb BG’s capital investment and operating expenses during 2016, with no net increase overall, compared with Shell stand alone in 2015.”
Oil companies across the globe have been hit hard by the rout in oil prices, which has forced many to implement drastic cost cuts. In December, Brent crude — the global oil benchmark — slumped to its lowest level since 2004, dropping to below $34 a barrel. Since then, however, oil prices have recovered a little, and a barrel of Brent crude was last trading at over $45.
During early trade in London on Wednesday, Shell’s shares were down 0.3 percent. However, year-to-date, the stock has risen 14.6 percent, outperforming the broader index.