Shell plans share buyback amid surging profits

Market trading boards are seen at the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney, Friday, February 9, 2018. ( AAP Image/Ben Rushton) NO ARCHIVING

Royal Dutch Shell says it plans to repurchase $25 billion of its stock over the next two years after announcing that second-quarter earnings rose 30 percent as energy prices surged.

Earnings excluding one-time items and fluctuations in the value of inventories — the industry's favored measure of performance — rose to $4.69 billion from $3.60 billion in the same period last year. Net income jumped to $6.02 billion from $1.54 billion.

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Oil companies are benefiting from higher energy prices after they slashed costs and reined in investment to adjust to an era of lower prices after crude plunged to less than $30 a barrel in 2016. Brent Crude traded at 74.29 on Thursday.

CEO Ben van Beurden says Shell now has "confidence to start our share buyback program."

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