Royal Shell Almost Doubles Earnings to $18.6 billion in 2010

The rising cost of gas helped Royal Shell almost double its earnings in 2010 to $18.6 billion from $9.8 billion in 2009.

According to Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser, the Dutch company almost doubled its earnings from higher oil prices and chemicals margins. Its profits would have been even higher – a concept almost impossible to wrap one’s mind around – if not for weak refining margins, pressure on certain regional natural gas prices, and volatility in downstream marketing margins as a result of rising oil prices.

That last statement is most telling because it reflects the price that we pay for gas at the pumps. Yes, we loving gearheads – and those who use our cars for basic transportation, too – resist paying $4 a gallon for gas. That immeasurably hurts Shell’s ability to make even more money.

Here are some other facts from the Shell annual earnings statement:

  • Full year 2010 cash flow from operating activities was $33.3 billion compared to $23.8 billion in 2009.
  • Basic current cost of supplies earnings per share increased by 90 percent versus a year ago.
  • A fourth quarter 2010 dividend has been announced of $0.42 per ordinary share, unchanged for the same period in 2009. The first quarter 2011 dividend is expected to be declared at $0.42 per share.

So, keep in mind as you fill up at the pump, Shell would love to charge you even more for a gallon of gas so it can more than double its earnings beyond $18.6 billion, but we consumers are just not willing to pony up more cash yet. Apparently resistance is not futile.

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