Shell profits gush on record high oil prices

LONDON, July 31, 2008 (AFP) – Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that high oil prices helped push its net profit up by a third to 11.556 billion dollars (7.409 billion euros) in the second quarter. Profits rocketed despite flagging production which was hampered by violence at facilities in Nigeria.

Output fell 1.6 percent during the reporting period to 3.126 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, Shell said in an earnings release.

Chief executive Jeroen van der Veer, addressing reporters after publication of the results, said that recent attacks in Nigeria had cost the group 178,000 barrels per day of output in the first three weeks of July.

In the second quarter, about 195,000 barrels per day were lost because of the attacks, he added.

Shell had said on Tuesday that it was suspending some crude deliveries after militants sabotaged a pipeline in Nigeria.

The group added Thursday that its net earnings, excluding fluctuations in the value of inventories, rose five percent to 7.9 billion dollars in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period in 2007.

Europe’s biggest oil company said its income jumped by 55 percent to 131.419 billion dollars du