The Earth’s atmosphere will soon contain more than 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide for the first time in human history. In related news, another large oil company made billions of dollars selling the world more fossil fuels.
Royal Dutch Shell pulled in nearly $8 billion in profits for the first quarter of this year, a 3.5 percent jump from the same three months last year. The corporation is Europe’s largest oil and gas company. The higher profits were made possible, per the BBC, from “strong refining and trading performances” and higher natural gas prices in the United States. Shell is looking to double its share in the global gas business:
Shell now has about 7 percent of the world L.N.G. business, with ambitions to more than double that share through new projects and acquisitions. Last year, L.N.G. and related businesses earned Shell $9.4 billion of its $25.1 billion in profit.
CEO Peter Voser, who started as CEO in 2004, announced his retirement next year, and warned the industry of “significant” price volatility due to global instability. Here are some key facts on Shell from this quarter:
- Shell raked in $7.95 billion in profits in Q1. Fox News focused on the fact that “net profits” were down from $8.74 billion to $8.18 billion from the first quarter of last year.
- Bloomberg’s survey of 11 analysts predicted Shell would make just $6.4 billion.
- Oil and gas production was up 2 percent from first quarter 2012, to 3.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
- The company has $17.6 billion in cash-on-hand.
- Shell received a $200 million annual tax break in 2011.
- Dividends increased 5 percent from first quarter 2012, while Shell spent half a billion dollars to buy back 16.1 million shares.
- Outgoing CEO Voser’s pay package, when combined with a significant bonus from last year, totaled $6.7 million. Bonus stock shares add millions to the total package.
- Shell spent over $2 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2013. For context, Shell was the top lobbying spender of the oil and gas industry last year, totaling $14.4 million.
What does Shell have to look forward to this year? It will partner with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to develop the Bab gas field, which contains “sour gas, a poisonous and foul smelling product.” One thing it will not be doing is drilling in the Arctic Ocean. After spending about $5 billion on preparing to drill in such risky conditions, Shell suspended operations last year and announced it would not attempt to drill again in 2013. Other oil companies are starting to realize Arctic offshore drilling is a bad idea as well.