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Shell profits up 41 per cent

Increase due to high oil prices and sale of assets.

Royal Dutch Shell has announced first quarterly 2011 profits of $6.9bn (£4.1bn) - up 41% on $4.9bn the same time last year.

Chief executive Peter Voser said: "We are making good progress against our targets to deliver a more competitive performance."

In March the company announced a new $100bn investment plan to meet demand for oil and gas, with plans to produce 3.7m barrels a day by 2014.

The increased profits are a result of high oil prices and the selling off of Shell's assets.

Rival company BP posted a drop in first quarterly profits on last year because of clean-up expenses in the Gulf of Mexico following last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP's profits of $5.5bn come in 20 per cent behind Shell's.

As one of the major global supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Shell is expending increased demand and sales from Japan as the country scales back on nuclear power following March's devastating earthquake and tsnuami.

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.