Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company, says profits doubled to nearly $7 billion in the third quarter because of higher oil prices and gains from the sale of assets.
Shell said Thursday that net profit was $6.98 billion, up from $3.46 billion in the third quarter of 2010. Revenues rose 33 percent to $127 billion.
Shell booked $1.8 billion in profits from the sale of assets, notably the sale of a refinery in Britain.
This time a year ago it took a $1.4 billion impairment charge on assets after an accounting review of its operations in Canadian heavy oil sands and its refining arm.
"Our third quarter results were higher than year-ago levels, driven by higher oil prices and Shell's performance," said Chief Executive Peter Voser in a statement.
Global oil prices have risen 48 percent from this time a year ago.
The company said its "upstream" or production, earnings were $5.44 billion, up 58 percent exluding one-time gains in both years.
Production fell 1.6 percent to 3.01 million barrels of oil per day, but Shell said that would have been a rise of 2 percent, comparing like for like. The company disposed of around 100,000 worth of production and its mature fields suffered declines, but it added 270,000 barrels of new production at projects in Qatar, Nigeria and Canada.
The company has been investing intensely in new capacity and plans to bring 20 new projects on line by 2014.
At Shell's "downstream" arm, which includes its refining activities, oil products and sales of chemicals, earnings increased 25 percent to $1.81 billion, excluding one-time gains in both years. The company cited healthy margins on its chemical products, as refinery margins were unchanged and intake fell.
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