Achieving a record first quarter profit even when the energy price environment has not been supportive is some feat by Shell and constitutes a solid start for new chief executive Wael Sawan.
Today’s numbers make their own argument for Shell’s integrated structure, with its energy trading arm helping to make up for lower oil and gas prices.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said: “In a bid to close a yawning valuation gap to its US peers, Shell is busily buying back shares. This undermines any pleas of poverty amid a push for increased levies on its bumper profit.
“A big driver of earnings and cash flow for Shell in recent times is its integrated gas business. Like Jupiter, Shell is a gas giant – with the £47 billion acquisition of BG back in 2016 helping to make it a leader in liquefied natural gas.
“Gas could have an important role to play in the energy transition as the world waits for the advancements in battery and renewables technology which could enable green sources of energy to provide consistent baseload power.
“If that proves the case then Shell’s big push in this area over the last decade will look prescient. Sawan is still to put his stamp on the business and, as an inside appointment, will be widely expected to maintain the approach pursued under his predecessors.
“Investors will find out if he has any surprises up his sleeve at an investor day in the US on 14 June.”