Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA), the world’s No. 3 oil company, cautioned Friday that its fourth-quarter earnings would be “significantly” lower than previous quarters due to weak industry conditions in downstream oil products, higher exploration expenses, and lower crude oil and natural gas production.

“Our 2013 performance was not what I expect from Shell,” Ben van Beurden, the new CEO of Shell, said in a statement Friday. “Our focus will be on improving Shell’s financial results, achieving better capital efficiency and on continuing to strengthen our operational performance and project delivery,”

The Anglo-Dutch firm reported a cut in forecasts to fourth-quarter earnings excluding an adjusted-earnings figure of around $2.9 billion, from market expectations of approximately $4 billion.

A logo is seen under a canopy of trees at a Shell gas station in central London

Shell is looking to sell about half of its main nine unconventional oil and gas assets.


In response to the warning, Shell’s shares fell more than 2 percent in early London trading.

Earnings were also impacted by security challenges in Nigeria, the weakening of the Australian dollar and loss in the upstream in the Americas.

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