Royal Dutch Shell’s 2020 earnings from trading crude oil and refined products doubled from the previous year to $2.6 billion, helping to offset a sharp drop in fuel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Shell’s oil trading operations, known internally as Trading & Supply, accounted for 43% of the Oil Products division’s total earnings of $5.995 billion in 2020. Trading earnings totalled $1.3 billion in 2019, Shell’s annual report, which was released on Thursday, said.
The unusually high contribution from trading helped Shell to weather one of the toughest years in the industry’s history, when energy consumption collapsed during the pandemic.
Shell, the world’s largest energy trader, experienced a 28% drop in oil sales last year to 4.71 million barrels per day on average, the annual report said.
Its 2020 profit dropped to its lowest in at least two decades.
Shell’s oil trading figures do not include natural gas, liquefied natural gas, power and renewables. Shell is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas trader.