Royal Dutch Shell has issued a profits warning ahead of its fourth quarter results.
The oil major warned the market that fourth quarter figures are expected to be significantly lower than recent levels of profitability, considering current oil and gas prices and the downstream oil products industry environment.
Shell said its fourth quarter 2013 earnings,on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis excluding identified items are expected to be approximately $2.9 billion, impacted by weak industry conditions in downstream oil products, higher exploration expenses and lower upstream volumes.
Chief executive Ben van Beurden commented: 'Our 2013 performance was not what I expect from Shell. Our focus will be on improving Shell's financial results, achieving better capital efficiency and on continuing to strengthen our operational performance and project delivery. '
Shell said that when it announces its results at the end of January, fourth quarter 2013 CCS earnings are expected to be around $2.2 billion, with full-year 2013 CCS earnings approximately $16.8 billion.
At 9:00 Royal Dutch Shell's shares were down 2.71% at 2,135p.