1 Feb 2013

Shell profits down

9:15 am on 1 February 2013

Annual profits at Royal Dutch Shell have fallen to $US27 billion, from $US28.6 billion in 2011.

Profits for the last three months of the year rose to $US7.3 billion, against $US6.5 billion, but the group was hit by generally weaker oil and gas prices during 2012.

Chief executive Peter Voser said 2012 was a year of "headwinds".

The fourth-quarter profit figure was boosted by a turnaround at Shell's refining arm, which reported a profit of $US1.2 billion compared with a loss of $US278 millio in the same period a year earlier.

However, profits from exploration and production fell to $US4.4 billion from $US5.1 billion.

The BBC reports Shell increased its output during the year and sold more gas than oil for the first time.

The company is investing more in liquefied natural gas projects in Asia and increased production at a gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar.