Cheap oil is demolishing Shell's earnings

Car crushGettyA Seven tonne Monster Truck gives a demonstration of it�s car crushing abilities at the Museum of Flight on September 25, 2009 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Cut price oil and abandoned projects have cost Royal Dutch Shell dearly.

The company reported a huge pre-tax loss of $US9.1 billion (£6 billion) after booking billions in writedowns on cancelled projects such as the Carmon Creek development in the Canadian oil sands and an oil drilling project in the Arctic.

“These charges reflect both a lower oil and gas price outlook and the firm steps we are taking to review and reduce Shell’s longer-term option set,” Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said “These are difficult, but impactful decisions. I am determined that Shell will become a more focused and competitive company as a result.”

These “exceptional items” reported this quarter cost the company a huge $US7.9 billion, but Shell is still keeping its dividend pay out to shareholders. The industry has been hit hard by the tumbling oil price, which has stayed mostly below $US50 a barrel this quarter, falling from $US100 last year.

Shell’s rival, BP, on Wednesday said it would slash costs as it prepares for an era of cheap oil lasting years.

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