Shell Q1 Profit Tops Estimates

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Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, aid its first-quarter profit jumped 22% to $6.9 billion. On an adjusted basis, Shell earned $6.29 billion, topping the consensus estimate of $5.87 billion. As some of its rivals have done, Shell cited higher oil prices and improved refining margins as reasons for its strong first quarter numbers.

Shell (RDS-A) is planning to spend $100 billion through 2014 to bolster oil output. The company is looking to boost production to 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2014, Bloomberg News reported. Last year, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant reversed seven straight years of production declines, but its first-quarter production dipped 2.5% to 3.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last month, Shell saw increased demand for liquefied natural gas as Japan is the world's largest importer of that fuel, the Wall Street Journal reported. Shell expects 13 new projects to come online this year and said earlier this week that it expects to produce more oil than natural gas in 2012.

''We continue to make good progress in implementing our strategy; improving near-term performance, delivering a new wave of production growth, and maturing the next generation of growth options for shareholders,'' Shell CEO Peter Voser said on the company's Web site.