Shell’s first-quarter fuel sales likely to drop, fuel retailer says

Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday that it projected a drop in its fuel sales during the first quarter, which indicated fuel demand recovery was still sluggish due to the re-imposition of COVID-19-related restrictions in some parts of the globe.

The fuel retailer said that it now expected refined oil product sales within the range of 3.7 million to 4.7 million barrels per day during the first quarter, which compares with a previous forecast of 4 million to 5 million bpd and with 4.8 million bpd reported for the final quarter of 2020.

Shell’s refinery utilization rates were at 71%-75% during the first quarter, while the company had forecast a range of 73%-81%.

At the same time, first-quarter liquefied natural gas output is projected at 7.8 million to 8.4 million tonnes, which compares with a prior forecast of 8.0 million to 8.6 million tonnes and with 8.2 million tonnes reported for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Shell’s total upstream production is projected to increase to 2.40-2.48 million barrels of oil equivalent during the first quarter from 2.37 million bpd in the final quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, mid-February’s deep freeze in Texas probably reduced Shell’s oil production by 10,000 to 20,000 barrels per day, the company said, and probably pared its adjusted first-quarter earnings by up to $200 million.

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