>> Shell looks set to dethrone arch rival Exxon Mobile as big oils cash king. 2017 earnings show the company certainly isn't short of money. Profits more than doubled in the fourth quarter, and were up 120% on the year to $16 billion. CEO Ben van Beurden says it's all down to discipline and confidence.
In 2016, it brought gas focused BG group for $54 billion. Now Shell is being boosted by a recovery in oil prices with Brent crude sitting around $70 a barrel. Its improved performance has put it on course to take pole position in the energy market. Estimates have its biggest rival, Exxon, which reported earnings on Friday, generating $32.6 billion in 2017.
That's three billion less than the Anglo-Dutch firm. Van Buerden has made no secret of his desire to take over the top spot from Exxon. He said the company intends to start a 3 year $25 billion buy back program as soon as possible.