By Neanda Salvaterra 

LONDON -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC's earnings fell in the first quarter but the performance of its gas trading business saw the oil company fare better than many of its rivals during the period.

The world's largest energy firms have taken a hit in the first-quarter amid geopolitical turmoil and weaker global oil prices. Exxon said its earnings during the period fell in every business segment inside and outside the U.S.

Shell on Thursday said lower returns from its chemicals and refining operations had hit its earnings. On a current cost-of-supplies basis -- a number similar to the net income that U.S. oil companies report -- first-quarter profit fell almost 7% to $5.2 billion compared with $5.7 billion for the previous quarter when Shell posted its highest quarterly profit since 2013.

Revenue in the period fell 6.2% to $83.74 billion, Shell said. Cash flow from operations fell to $ 8.63 billion, from $9.47 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

But the Anglo-Dutch giant fared a bit better than its rivals in Europe and North America, partly because its gas trading business proved to be robust. The firm also benefited from higher prices for LNG and gas, according to analysts.

Shell said it would be able to sustain the $25 billion share buyback program it launched last year. It will purchase another $2.75 billion worth of shares in the next tranche, up from $2.5 billion previously.

Shell's shares were up 1.26% in early European morning trading.

"It was a standout result out of the Big Five," said Thomas Adolff, the head of European oil and gas equity research at Credit Suisse.

Write to Neanda Salvaterra at neanda.salvaterra@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 02, 2019 04:15 ET (08:15 GMT)

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