Shell: Profits hit by refining, lower production

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company, says third quarter earnings fell due to weaker refining conditions, and higher exploration and production expenses. In addition, production fell by 2 percent to 2.93 million barrels per day, due to shutdowns of facilities for maintenance, notably in Nigeria, where Shell has suffered from attacks on pipelines.

The company reported earnings on a current cost of supplies basis — which strips out the impact of fluctuations of oil prices between when it is produced and when it is sold — of $4.25 billion (3.10 billion euros), compared with $6.15 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

Outgoing CEO Peter Voser said Shell's woes are mostly short term, as he expects costs to fall in 2014 and the company's underlying production is growing.