Oil giant Shell managed to avoid the fate that befell rival BP earlier in the week as its earnings for the third quarter stayed largely in line with expectations.
The London-listed oil and gas producer said its adjusted earnings fell 34% in the three months compared with a year earlier, landing at a little over 6.2bn dollars (£5.1bn).
The result was only 24m dollars (£19.7m) behind expectations, unlike BP which missed its forecast underlying replacement cost profit by around 700m dollars (£575m), causing shares to plummet on Tuesday.
Shell’s earnings rose compared with the second quarter of this year thanks to higher oil prices, higher margins at its refining plants, and more production at its upstream unit.
It gave chief executive Wael Sawan the headroom he needed to announce a plan to return 3.5bn dollars (£2.9bn) to Shell’s investors by buying back their shares before the fourth-quarter results.
“Shell delivered another quarter of strong operational and financial performance, capturing opportunities in volatile commodity markets,” he said.
“Shell is commencing a 3.5-bn-dollar buyback programme for the next three months, bringing the buybacks for the second half of 2023 to 6.5bn dollars, well in excess of the 5bn dollars announced at capital markets day in June.”
The total amount that Shell has said it will return to shareholders so far this year is 23bn dollars (£18.9bn), Mr Sawan said.
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