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Shell working hard on ‘best outcome’ for Brent decom, CFO says

Oil giant Shell yesterday cited a “strong start to 2019” and increased pre-tax profits as the reason for implementing a bullish share buyback programme.

The firm announced it intends to repurchase almost £20 billion shares by 2025, with the first tranche expected to see it re-aquire £2.1bn over the next three months.

Shell pre-tax profits rose to £7.2bn for Q1 if this year, compared to £6.3bn over the same period in 2018.

But, by Shell’s own preferred method of reporting it also experienced a 7% drop in statutory earnings and a 2% fall in underlying earnings.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden said the firm had delivered “robust results” despite challenging market conditions.

The firm’s chief financial officer (CFO) Jessica Uhl also said the necessary work was being done on achieving a Brent decommissioning solution.

Shell has said removing the 300,000 tonne legs would be “riddled with safety risks” and had little merit for the environment.

Mr van Beurden said: “Shell has made a strong start to 2019, with the first quarter financial performance demonstrating the strength of our strategy and the quality of our portfolio of assets.

“Our integrated value chain enabled our Downstream business to deliver robust results despite challenging market conditions.

“The consistent financial performance across all our businesses provides confidence in meeting our 2020 outlook.”

Shell CFO, Ms Uhl, also said the firm had seen a “huge step up” in its North Sea performance, causing a renewed sense of faith in the basin.

She said three final investment decisions (FIDs) in the North Sea had allowed the firm to become a “more competitive business”.

Ms Uhl added that Shell was working hard on a “best outcome” for the Brent platforms decommission but that there were still “many elements to consider”.

She said: “We’ve done everything we can to bring the right expertise to bear on our strategy on the Brent decommissioning.

“We now need to find the best solution for all parties.”

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