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Shell Earnings Rise 57% to $5.48B

The largest oil company in Europe said first-quarter earnings rose 57% on higher oil prices and production growth.



) --

Royal Dutch Shell


, the largest oil company in Europe, said first-quarter earnings rose 57% on higher oil prices and production growth.

Shell said first-quarter profit was $5.48 billion vs. $3.49 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose to $86 billion from $52.2 billion.

"Our results have improved considerably compared with year-ago levels, and our profitability has increased from the low levels we saw in the fourth quarter 2009," said Shell CEO Peter Voser, in a statement Wednesday. "This has been driven by higher energy prices, operational and production performance and Shell's growth programs."

Oil and gas production for the first quarter rose 6% from a year earlier to 3.59 million barrels of oil a day.

Voser said there "mixed signals" for the company's near-term outlook.

So far in 2010, oil prices have remained firm, and demand for petrochemicals has increased, but refining margins, oil products demand and spot gas prices all remain under pressure," Voser said. "Although there are signs of an improving economic outlook, we are not relying on it, we are continuing with our focus on cash flow growth, underpinned by new project start-ups and lower costs."

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Shell's European rival


(BP) - Get BP Plc Report

on Tuesday reported a

first-quarter profit of $6.1 billion


-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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