Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser commented:
“We continue to make good progress with our strategy; improving our competitive performance, delivering a new wave of production growth, and maturing the next generation of growth options for shareholders.
Our profits pay for Shell’s substantial investments in new energy projects, to ensure low-cost, reliable energy supplies for our customers and to create value for our shareholders. Our third quarter results were higher than year-ago levels, driven by higher oil prices and Shell’s performance.
In Upstream, our oil and gas production excluding divestments grew by 2% from year-ago levels, driven by the continued ramp-up of our growth projects, mainly in Qatar and Canada. Shell’s LNG sales volumes increased by 12%, with continued robust demand for gas. Our Downstream results were supported by increased Chemicals earnings, with a resilient performance from Oil Products, despite the more difficult economic environment. We have resumed our share buyback programme, with $0.8 billion of buybacks during the quarter, at a time when financial markets have been weak.
Disposal of non-core assets is an important part of our drive to improve Shell’s competitive position and capital efficiency. We completed $6.2 billion of asset sales this year, with $1.8 billion in the third quarter 2011, including a refinery in the United Kingdom and non-core upstream assets in the Americas. We have delivered on our target for $5 billion of disposals this year, ahead of schedule. Asset sales from non-core positions will continue.
We are delivering on our growth strategy, with the build-up of production from new projects. The Athabasca Oil Sands Project Expansion 1 in Canada and the Pearl Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) Train 1 in Qatar have ramped up and production should stabilise at plateau rates shortly. We expect to start up Train 2 of Pearl GTL before the end of 2011, as planned. These projects in Qatar and Canada are part of a series of over 20 new upstream start-ups planned for 2011-14, as we deliver on our plans for sustainable growth, driving Shell’s financial and operating targets for 2012.
We continue to mature new investment options for medium-term growth, taking final investment decision on the Clair Phase 2 development in the United Kingdom, and the Wheatstone LNG project in Australia, confirming a new oil discovery in French Guiana, and also building new acreage positions for exploration drilling in the future.
Voser concluded: “We are making good progress against our targets, to deliver a more competitive performance.”