The UK's second-largest oil company reported losses of $1.76bn in its refining business. It also experienced a steep drop of 75 per cent in fourth quarter earnings to $1.18bn.
The company slashed 5,000 jobs last year under its restructuring programme to compete against rivals such as BP.
Shell's chief executive, Peter Voser, spoke of plans to slash costs and tackle the downstream weakness by selling or closing 15 per cent of the company's refining portfolio, which is one of the largest in the industry.
"Oil prices have increased compared to a year ago, but gas prices and refining margins have declined sharply, because of weaker demand and high industry inventory levels. We are not assuming that there will be a quick recovery, and the outlook for 2010 is uncertain," said Voser.
Shares in the Anglo-Dutch oil company fell nearly 2 per cent in early trading.