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Shell praises oil and gas operations run from Aberdeen

26 April 2018

ROYAL Dutch Shell finance chief Jessica Uhl has hailed a big increase in profitability in the North Sea and underlined the oil and gas giant’s commitment to the area.

As Shell posted a 42% increase in first quarter profits to $5.3bn (£3.8bn) from $3.8bn, helped by the rise in oil and gas prices, Ms Uhl indicated the North Sea has played a big part in the growth story.

“We’re seeing a really fantastic performance from our assets in the North Sea,” she told reporters.

“It’s impressive what the team has been able to accomplish to really transform the return capability and the investment attractiveness.”

Ms Uhl added: “We have made some decisions to expand in the last couple of years and we continue to look at that as an important part of our business. We believe it is more competitive and offers better opportunities.”

The comments from the American executive provide a further sign there has been a big change in thinking about the North Sea at Shell, which will be welcomed in Scotland.

Shell appeared set to turn its back on the North Sea area amid the fall out from the sharp fall in the oil price between 2014 and 2016.

The company shed more than 1,000 North Sea jobs and sold off a raft of older fields. In January last year it sold a big portfolio accounting for around half its North Sea production to the independent Chrysaor for up to $3.8bn.

Read more: $3.8bn deal puts North Sea in focus

The disposals have left Shell focused on newer assets in areas such as West of Shetland, on which it can achieve higher returns using modern kit.

Cost cutting has provided a further boost to profitability.

Shell cheered the North Sea oil and gas industry in January by announcing plans to make hefty investment in revamping the giant Penguins field north of Scotland.

This was the first UK development approved by Shell for more than six years.

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