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Quitting Russia is set to cost oil giant Shell up to $5bn, but the surge in oil prices will cushion the blow.
Shell reported this morning that it will write off between $4bn and $5bn (£3bn-£3.8bn) post-tax in asset values after deciding to exit Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
The bill covers the “impairment of non-current assets” and additional charges such as writing down debts owed by customers and credit losses.
Last month, Shell announced it would withdraw from its involvement in all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products, gas and liquefied natural gas, stop importing Russian crude oil, and shut its service stations, aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia.
But, Shell has also reported that its oil and gas trading activities will get a boost from soaring energy prices, which jumped after the Ukraine war began.
It says that earnings from oil trading are expected to be “significantly higher” in the first quarter of 2022 than in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The indicative refining margin is around $10.23/bbl, compared to $6.55/bbl in the fourth quarter 2021.
Trading at its integrated gas division are also expected to be stronger than in the previous quarter.
Shell’s update comes as the UK government announces its long-awaited energy strategy to cut the country’s reliance on overseas energy.
Nuclear energy is at the heart of the strategy, with plans for up to eight new reactors, and a goal to lift offshore wind power capacity to make 95 per cent of the country’s electricity “low carbon” by 2030.
But there’s disappointment that ministers have vowed to continue the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas, and not announced plans to cut demand through a push on insulation.
As our news story explains:
The plans risk infuriating environmental campaigners, after the opportunity to remove barriers to more onshore wind farms appeared to fall victim to Tory in-fighting, new North Sea drilling won the government’s blessing, and ministers appeared to open the door to fracking.
Opposition parties were scathing about the strategy. Two former energy secretaries from Labour and the Liberal Democrats branded it “ludicrous” and “hopeless” for failing to expand onshore wind power or tackle energy efficiency.
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