Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. Image courtesy of Shell/Flickr.

Royal Dutch Shell reported a 56 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings on Thursday as low oil prices weighed on upstream profits.

Shell’s fourth quarter 2015 current cost of supplies (CCS) earnings fell to $1.84 billion, a 56 percent drop compared to the same quarter last year, while full year 2015 CCS earnings fell 80 percent year-over-year to $3.84 billion.

The company booked $1.82 billion in fourth quarter earnings on a CCS basis excluding identified items, down from $3.3 billion in the same quarter of last year.

Full year 2015 CCS earnings excluding identified items fell to $10.7 billion from $22.6 billion in 2014.

Shell posted $939 million in fourth quarter income attributable to shareholders, up from a loss of $7.4 billion in the third quarter of 2015.

Full year income attributable to shareholders plunged to $1.93 billion from $14.87 billion in 2014.

Upstream CCS earnings excluding identified items were $493 million for the fourth quarter, down from $1.73 billion in the same quarter of 2014, and $1.78 billion for the full year compared to $16.5 billion in 2014.

Upstream earnings included a net charge of $826 million, primarily reflecting asset impairments of about $640 million and a net charge on fair value accounting of certain commodity derivatives and gas contracts of about $210 million.

The company’s downstream segment booked $1.52 billion in fourth quarter CCS earnings excluding identified items, compared to $1.55 billion in the prior year quarter.

Full year CCS downstream earnings excluding identified items climbed to $9.74 billion from $6.26 billion in 2014.

Cash flow from operating activities for the fourth quarter 2015 was $5.4 billion, compared with $9.6  billion for the same quarter last year.

Full year 2015 cash flow from operating activities was $29.8 billion, down from $45 billion in 2014.

Shell’s full year 2015 capital investment was $28.9 billion, an $8.4 billion drop from 2014.

Shell’s $70 billion merger with BG Group is expected to close on February 15, 2016.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden reaffirmed that the company will cut 10,000 staff and direct contractor positions across both companies in 2015 and 2016.

“The completion of the BG transaction, which we are expecting in a matter of weeks, marks the start of a new chapter in Shell, rejuvenating the company, and improving shareholder returns,” van Beurden said.

Capital investment for Shell and BG Group combined is expected to be $33 billion for the full year of 2016.

Shell’s dividends for 2015 were $1.88 per share, and are expected to be at least $1.88 per share in 2016, van Beurden added.


Leave a Reply