Oil prices contribute to rise in Shell’s annual profits

The oil company Royal Dutch Shell has announced profits almost double that of last year.

Oil company Shell has announced profits of $18.6bn (£11.5bn), up from $9.8bn last year.

For the final quarter the company announced profits of $5.7bn.

It is unknown how much of the $4.5bn increase from the final quarter of 2009 is as a result of increase in the price fuel on the forecourt.

The next rise in fuel duty is due to take effect from April, but the government is currently being asked to reconsider its plans.

The final quarter increase was in line with rival oil company BP.

Shell has also benefited from the rise in oil prices as a result of the crisis in Egypt and increased demand.

Brent crude oil broke the $100 per barrel barrier, and is now trading at over $103 per barrel.

Chief executive Peter Voser has said "We are making good progress against our targets and there is more to come from Shell,"

With $3bn invested in exploration in 2010, the company is planning further spending on new projects in 2011.