Shell admits 2013 was ‘challenging’

<p>Shell stocks are up today.</p>

Stocks in Royal Dutch Shell have risen today (March 14th) after the company admitted it had a "challenging" year in 2013.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden stated that takings were affected by declining profits from refining operations in Asia and Europe. These were reduced as a result of an oversupply of global capacity and lower demand.

However, this picture could be set to improve for the company in the next 12 months, after a new report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said demand for oil products is expected to rise over the course of 2014.

Opec estimated global demand for oil will increase by around 1.14 million barrels a day through the remainder of the year, giving a boost to some of the world's largest oil companies, which include Shell.

"In 2014, we will strive to build on our track record of delivering new projects. And we will continue to use a clear set of strategic themes to guide decisions about investment and technology," Mr van Beurden said.

Underperformance

The chief executive also pointed out that a lot of the different areas of Royal Dutch Shell's business had operated below their full potential in 2013, which the firm will be hoping changes for the coming year.

"The global economy will see a gradual recovery in 2014, led by growth acceleration," Opec's report stated. It was also pointed out by the body that this will naturally lead to a growth in demand for oil products, especially in countries such as China where there is a rapidly expanding middle class.

Shares in Royal Dutch Shell were slightly up this morning on the back of the comments made by the firm's chief executive and the new oil report from Opec, but fell away later in the session.

By 13:12 GMT, stocks in the company were broadly flat for the day on the London Stock Exchange, trading at around the 2,324.50 mark.

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