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Forbes/AFX News Limited: Shell Australia lifts 2005 EBIT 70 pct to 1.23 bln aud

Forbes/AFX News Limited: Shell Australia lifts 2005 EBIT 70 pct to 1.23 bln aud


SYDNEY (XFN-ASIA) – Royal Dutch Shell unit Shell Australia said its profit before interest and tax jumped almost 70 pct in 2005 to 1.23 bln aud, on the back of record high oil prices and improved operations at its two refineries.


In a report released last night, Shell Australia said the profit rise was underpinned by its upstream oil and gas production operations off the coast of Western Australia that generated 968 mln aud in profit before tax and interest in 2005, up from 708 mln in 2004.


Earnings from the downstream oil refining and petrol retailing operations jumped to 300 mln aud from 43.5 mln, driven by higher refining margins on the back of strong global demand.


Shell Australia spent 467 mln aud on its upstream business last year, largely in exploration on the proposed Gorgon liquefied natural gas development joint venture led by ChevronTexaco off the north-west Australian coast.


Shell Australia chairman Russell Caplan said the company is committed to increasing gas production in Australia, where Shell is a participant in the North West Shelf LNG joint venture.


Caplan said the company anticipates strong growth in gas demand, adding that its upstream business in Australia is well placed to supply to the expanding market.


'We're hopeful that our ambitious drilling program will further strengthen our position,' he said.


(1 usd = 1.33 aud)


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