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shell-oilLONDON: Royal Dutch Shell Plc reported a doubling in profits on Thursday thanks to higher oil prices, robust demand for gas and stronger refining margins, and said it would continue to sell off non-core assets.

Europe's largest oil company by market value said it's current cost of supply (CCS) net income was $7.2 billion, a 100 percent rise on the same period last year when non-cash accounting charges weighed on the result.

The underlying result was broadly in line with analysts forecasts.

The Hague-based group said its enormous investments in big new projects were paying off saying that while production fell 2 percent to 3.01 million barrels of oil equivalent (boepd), excluding the sale of fields, the underlying trend was upward.

Chief Executive Peter Voser also said in a statement that although Shell had already met its target of $5 billion of disposals this year, sales of "non-core" assets would continue.

Brent crude jumped 48 percent in the quarter compared to the same period last year, to average $113/barrel in the quarter.

The Japan earthquake earlier this year and subsequent shut down of nuclear plants has boosted demand for natural gas, especially liquefied natural gas, in which Shell is a market leader.

The company said LNG sales rose 12 percent, echoing buoyant LNG results reported by smaller rival BG Group on Tuesday.

Excluding one-offs, the result rose 42 percent to $7.0 billion, compared to an average forecast of $6.61 billion from a Reuters poll of nine analysts. Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly-traded oil company third-quarter net income is expected to jump 40 percent on last year to $10.26 billion, according to I/B/E/S estimates.

CCS earnings strip out unrealised gains or losses related to changes in the value of inventories, and as such are comparable with net income under US accounting rules.

Copyright Reuters, 2011

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