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You can be sure of Shell

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Royal Dutch Shell reported a record annual profit in 2005 for a UK-listed company, generating a surplus of £12.93bn, up almost a third on the previous year, due to soaring oil prices.

The cost of crude oil jumped from under $45 a barrel to break the $70 barrier, as demand from China and the US reached all-time highs and output in the Gulf of Mexico was hit by a series of hurricanes.

“The numbers are frightening and you can see why George Bush is so alarmed that America is ‘addicted’ to oil and is keen on developing energy alternatives,” said City analyst Colin Perry.

“No other industry comes close at the moment in terms of cash generation.”

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