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    Shell’s Downstream Division Sees Best Profit Since 2006

    CEO Peter Voser says the company is focused on technology and integration.

    AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – Royal Dutch Shell plc’s downstream division posted its best profit since 2006 in its latest quarter. The company earned $5.3 billion worldwide during its 2012 fiscal fourth quarter at its downstream division, under which its convenience store and gas station operations are housed. That compares to a net profit of $4.27 billion during the same quarter in 2011.

    Overall, Shell’s fourth-quarter earnings came in at $6.67 billion vs. a profit of $6.5 billion for the same timeframe last year. However, for the year, Shell’s net income declined to $26.6 billion, compared to $30.9 billion in 2011.

    "With the first year of our 2012-2015 growth targets completed, Shell is on track for plans we set out in early 2012 despite headwinds last year," stated Peter Voser, Shell’s CEO. "Shell is competitive and innovative. We are delivering a strategy that others can’t easily repeat, with unique skills in technology and integration, and a worldwide set of opportunities for new investment."

    Voser added that Shell is extremely pleased with its cash flow. So pleased, in fact, that the company paid the most of any oil company in shareholder dividends -- $11 billion -- during 2012, the chief executive remarked. He promised that Shell will increase the dividend payout by another 4.7 percent in 2013.

    In addition to reporting the company’s latest earnings, Voser also took time out recently to talk with CNBC's "Squawk Box" program about the future of natural gas. He predicted that natural gas prices will see very little price rebound this year.

    "If I look at the macro in terms of gas prices in the U.S., I don't see big changes in 2013. I think it'll take a little bit longer until it comes back to a range that we think should be around $3 to $5, or $4 to 6 — where most projects would make sense," Voser said.

    U.S. natural gas prices have significantly fallen since reaching a record high of just above $13 due to a supply glut created from the shale-gas boom.

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