Royal Dutch Shell Plc reported a near five-fold rise in net profits on Thursday, driven by higher oil prices but still fell short of market expectations.

Earnings on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis, jumped to $5.7 billion from $1.2 billion a year ago when the company suffered heavy refining losses.

There is disappointment, it is at the lower end of analyst expectations. We saw some disappointment with CCS, Jos Versteeg, an analyst at Theodoor Glissen said.

Excluding non-operating and one-off items the result was $4.1 billion, short of the average of analysts' forecasts of $4.85 billion, according to a Reuters poll.

Shell said it would pay a dividend of $0.42 a share for the quarter and expected to maintain this level of payout for the first quarter of 2011.

It is bit light both on the upstream and on the downstream. (The) unchanged dividend is not a surprise, Paul Andriessen at ABN AMRO said following the results.

The disappointment was echoed by others.

Disappointing, certainly in the U.S. upstream division and oil products making a loss, quite challenging for the company, said ING Financial Markets analyst Jason Kenney.

Shell's result follows that of Exxon Mobil Corp , which reported a better than expected 53 percent increase in quarterly profit and Chevron , whose net income rose 73 percent.

BP Plc , struggling to put the Gulf of Mexico oil spill behind it, fared less well. It reported a 34 percent rise in replacement cost (RC) net income. The result would have been up only slightly were it not for $1.4 billion in gains from asset sales.

RC and CCS net income strip out unrealized gains related to changes in the value of fuel inventories, so are comparable to U.S. net income.

Benchmark U.S. crude prices averaged about $85 per barrel in the fourth quarter, up from $76 in the fourth quarter of 2009.

(Additional reporting by Tom Bergin; Writing by Alexander Smith; Editing by Greg Mahlich)