Nigeria unrest hits Shell profits

Profits at energy giant Royal Dutch Shell plunged by 57 percent in the second quarter to $4.6billion compared with $5.7 billion in the same period a year ago, the company has revealed.

It blamed rising costs, a surge in oil thefts and disruption in Nigeria and other negative factors.

"Higher costs, exploration charges, adverse currency exchange rate effects and challenges in Nigeria have hit our bottom line. These results were undermined by a number of factors – but they were clearly disappointing for Shell," said CEO Peter Voser.

Shell is in the process of transformation. It is disposing of assets, with projects worth $21 billion sold already, to invest in new business with better returns.

"Shell is entering a new phase of more substantial portfolio change, which will lead to a higher rate of divestments in the coming years," Vosser said. "We have recently launched strategic portfolio reviews in both Nigeria onshore and North America resources plays, which will lead to further focus and divestments there, as we continue to shape the company for the future. Our strategy is to deliver sustainable growth in cash generation through the business cycle, underpinning Shell's competitive dividends and returns. We are not targeting oil and gas production volumes; rather we are focusing on financial performance."

In June Shell said it was considering further sale of assets in the eastern Niger Delta, where it has security problems, but that it was still committed to Nigeria.

It has already sold eight Niger Delta licences for a total $1.8 billion since 2010.

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