* Earnings $6.1 bln vs $5.46 bln forecast
* Raises dividend, flags $30 billion returns to investors
* Impairments of $1.943 bln related mainly to U.S. gas
* Oil, gas production rises slightly
* Shares jump 3 percent
(Recasts, adds analyst rating)
By Alex Lawler
LONDON, July 31 Royal Dutch Shell Plc
reported a 33 percent increase in quarterly earnings on
Thursday, beating analyst forecasts despite impairments of
almost $2 billion after producing more liquids and selling at
The Anglo-Dutch oil company also raised its quarterly
dividend and said the value of its share buybacks and dividends
for 2014 and 2015 would exceed $30 billion. The stock
rose 3 percent in early trade.
Shell's second-quarter earnings on a current cost of
supplies basis excluding one-time items were $6.1 billion, up 33
percent from a year earlier. Analysts had expected earnings of
"The upstream number was good and the downstream number was
better than expected," said Jason Kenney, analyst at Santander,
referring to Shell's two largest divisions. "Although downstream
was still a weak number."
"Across the business there are some very material
writedowns. There may be even more writedowns to come," said
Kenney, who has a "hold" rating on Shell's shares.
The quarter's earnings included a net charge of $1 billion
after tax with impairments of $1.943 billion related mainly to
gas assets in the United States.
The company joins rival BP Plc in reporting
Chief Executive Ben van Beurden is aiming to improve returns
through selling assets and more selective project choices after
a rare profit warning issued in January.
Shell announced a second-quarter 2014 dividend of $0.47 per
ordinary share, up 4 percent year on year and in line with
Global oil companies including Shell have struggled to boost
their production in recent years, due in part to declines at
existing fields and delays with new projects.
Shell's oil and gas output in the quarter equalled 3.077
million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), up from 3.062
million a year earlier. Some analysts had expected a decline.
Van Beurden, in a statement, said there was room for further
"Our financial performance for the second quarter of 2014
was more robust than year-ago levels," he said. "But I want to
see stronger, more competitive results right across the company,
particularly in Oil Products and North America resources plays."
(Additional reporting by Karen Rebelo in Bangalore; editing by
Jason Neely and Tom Pfeiffer)