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Industry struggles to combat low prices: Shell shares slide after oil giant’s profits tumble 72%

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Oil giant Shell notched up a 72 per cent plunge in second quarter profits as the Anglo-Dutch firm became the latest player to be hit by falling oil and gas prices.

Shell shares dropped 3.5 per cent this morning, as the firm, which recently took over BG Group, posted earnings of $1.05billion (£800million) in the three months to the end of June – a steep fall from the $3.76billion (£2.86billion) it made in the same period last year, and far below analyst expectations for $2.2billion (£1.67billion).

The results follow those of fellow oil giant BP this week, which revealed it was still paying the price for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, which has cost it a total of £47billion.

Both of the oil giants play a big role in the UK’s investment and pension portfolios due to the dividends that they pay out to shareholders.

Questions have been raised over whether the slump in the oil price over the past two years will mean that these payouts must be cut, however, both Shell and BP have held firm so far.

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The author Paul