Shell Posts "Obscene" Profits

Even as other companies post record lows, Royal Dutch Shell PLC -- Europe's largest oil company -- announced on Thursday that their Q4 earnings have grown 60 percent. (A sum the "Daily Mail" finds "obscene".)

As Portfolio adds:

Net income was $8.47 billion (5.73 billion euros), up from $5.28 billion, while sales rose to $107 billion (euro72.4 billion) from $75.5 billion despite a fall in production.

Lurking just below the surface, however, are "crippling costs and disappointing margins," as noted by Forbes. But as Shell defends:

Fourth-quarter performance reflected industry-wide problems: higher costs, higher taxes and lower production volumes.