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    Shell's Profits Rise

    The company's operating earnings were $3.51 billion, up almost 16 percent from a year earlier.

    Royal Dutch/Shell Group yesterday reported a 13-percent rise in profits for the second quarter, helped by the strong performance of its oil products division.

    Shell's operating earnings were $3.51 billion, up almost 16 percent from a year earlier. The second-quarter earnings were in line with analysts' expectations, but significantly down from the $4.01 billion profit recorded in the first quarter. Deteriorating gas prices, declining volumes due to seasonal weaker demand and price erosion in the chemicals sector contributed to the lower quarter-to-quarter earnings, Reuters reported.

    Earnings at the group's refined products division jumped 44 percent to $1.04 billion. Shell said the division was boosted by a strong performance in the United States and higher fuel margins. The company also said its exploration and production unit recorded adjusted earnings of $2.2 billion, an increase of 1 percent from the same quarter last year.

    Profits at the group's chemicals division were hit, however, by the global slowdown. Falling industrial output saw earnings at the division, which produces chemicals for the plastics, coatings and detergents markets, tumble 54 percent to $127 million.

    For the first six months of the year, Shell earned $7.5 billion, up from $6.5 billion a year ago.

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