Shell Q1 chemical sales volumes fall 7%; earnings flat

26 April 2012 07:40  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell said on Thursday its chemical sales volumes in the first quarter of 2012 declined 7% year on year to 4.68m tonnes, citing reductions in European capacity, as well as rationalisation of its contract portfolio.

“Chemicals earnings were in line with the first quarter 2011,” the company said in a statement.

In the first quarter of last year, earnings at Shell’s chemicals operations stood at $489m (€378m).

Chemicals manufacturing plant availability rose to 94% in the March quarter this year from 92% in the same period last year, Shell said in a statement.

Shell’s oil products sales volumes, meanwhile, slipped 3% to 5.96m bbl/day.

The company’s overall downstream operations reported a 13% year-on-year increase in earnings at current cost of supplies (CCS) to $1.32bn, which included a $198m net gain, it said.

“Earnings benefited from the Raízen joint venture in Brazil and lower operating expenses.  These items were more than offset by lower realised refining margins, reflecting the weaker global refining environment, and lower marketing contributions mainly as a result of a reduced portfolio following divestments,” it said.

Shell said that total proceeds from divestment stood at some $300m in the first quarter. Divestments included retail stations in North America and a liquefied petroleum gas business in Asia Pacific.

The company also completed the sale of the majority of its shareholding of its downstream businesses in Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

This represents the second stage of the divestment of the majority of Shell’s shareholding in most of its downstream businesses in Africa, with the remainder expected to be completed later in 2012, Shell said.

Shell’s overall net profit for the March quarter 2012 dipped by 1% year on year to $8.72bn.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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