Royal Dutch Shell reports 57 percent drop in net income to $773 million

MarketsAssociated Press

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company by market value, says fourth quarter net income fell 57 percent to $773 million in results that will set the tone for other energy giants as they roll out their earnings.

Shell is one of the first of the major oil companies to report earnings since oil prices began plunging. The price of Brent crude dropped about 50 percent last year.

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Shell said Thursday that fourth quarter earnings on current cost of supplies basis, which excludes the impact of changes in the oil price on inventory, rose 93 percent to $4.2 billion.

CEO Ben van Beurden said Shell "delivered where it counts" and that it was "being careful not to over-react to the recent fall in oil prices."