Shell’s Voser says lower U.S. gas, oil prices curb earnings

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said lower North American crude and gas prices will curb earnings at Europe’s largest oil company.

Shell, which last year produced more gas than oil for the first time, scaled back investment in the U.S. after gas prices fell to a decade-low in April. Last year, the U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate averaged $94.15 a barrel, about 18 percent below Europe’s Brent oil, because of increased output and export capacity restrictions.

“For most of the Americas you had the WTI effect, and you had the Canadian prices because of that very low, and that has affected our profitability,” Voser said today in a Bloomberg TV interview in Davos, Switzerland.

Shell’s fourth-quarter earnings excluding one-time items and inventory changes are expected to rise 42 percent to about $6.8 billion, based on a Bloomberg survey of six analysts. The results are due out on Jan. 31.

Brent oil, which has been trading above $100 a barrel since July, and rising U.S. energy prices, will boost industry earnings this year, Voser said.