Fluctuating energy prices 'don't curb Shell profits'

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International oil exploration firm Royal Dutch Shell has announced record profits of £22 billion – almost £700 per second.

The company's soaring profit represents a 14 per cent increase on figures released in 2007 and come despite the firm making its first quarterly loss in a decade at the end of 2008.

Shell has attributed the rise to the high price of oil during the summer – which reached $147 (£103) a barrel.

Chief executive of the firm Jeroen van der Veer said: "Industry conditions remain challenging, and we are continuing the focus on capital and cost discipline in Shell."

However, the surge in profit has angered trade unions.

Derek Simpson, Unite's joint general-secretary, said: "Shell is still feasting while the rest of us face famine. Its profits are the biggest in UK history."

Meanwhile, Shell expects energy prices to increase in the long-term as the world tries to meet growing demand.

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