Europe’s largest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, has reported a drop in quarterly earnings following the plunge in oil prices last year.
The company’s fourth quarter 2008 earnings were $4.8bn (£3.4bn) compared to $6.7bn in the same period a year ago. However, annual earnings for 2008 increased to $31.4bn compared to $27.6bn in 2007 as a result of high oil prices over the summer.
Cash flow from operating activities for the fourth quarter 2008 was $10.3bn, with net capital investment for the quarter standing at $6.8bn.
Shell’s chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, said: ‘We delivered satisfactory performance in the fourth quarter of 2008, given the pressure on demand for oil and gas due to a weaker global economy.
‘Our strategy remains to pay competitive and progressive dividends, and to make significant investments in the company for future profitability. Industry conditions remain challenging, and we are continuing the focus on capital and cost discipline.’