Shell launched a $6bn share buyback scheme after posting its best profit for a second consecutive quarter as high energy prices and refining margins generated bumper earnings for the world’s oil and gas majors.
Europe’s largest oil company’s adjusted earnings — the profit measure most closely tracked by analysts — rose to $11.5bn in the second three months of the year, breaking the record $9.1bn posted in the first quarter.
That beat average analyst estimates of $11bn and was more than double the $5.5bn it recorded a year ago.
Shell produced less oil than in the first quarter but benefited from higher prices, reflecting the soaring cost of crude in April, May and June following Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine.
Higher refining margins drove performance in its chemicals and products business, while it also noted “exceptionally strong” earnings from its gas and power trading business.
“With volatile energy markets and the ongoing need for action to tackle climate change, 2022 continues to present huge challenges,” chief executive Ben van Beurden said.
Shell left its dividend at $0.25 a share but said that, with the $6bn share buyback plan, total distributions to shareholders would be “significantly in excess” of 30 per cent of cash flow from operations.
The new round of share buybacks follows $8.5bn of buybacks that were completed in the first half of the year.
Net debt fell to $46.4bn from $48.bn three months earlier.