Shell’s higher risk for lower returns

Shell’s numbers show how the combination of higher costs and lower production can squeeze profitability. But the oil majors have little choice except to pursue riskier projects.

Royal Dutch Shell’s major profit downgrade last Friday may have surprised markets but there were a lot of familiar strains to the explanation for the earnings slump, followed on Monday by the sale of its $1.3 billion Wheatstone-Iago interest.

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