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Profits rise as production falls

LAST year was a bumper year for most of the world's oil majors, judging by the profits they announced last month. But a look at the production figures suggest things are not quite as rosy. And with the exception of BP, none of the other majors is willing, yet, to say much at all about its reserves. In the UK, Shell announced the largest profit recorded by a company listed on a European stock exchange: $27.6bn after tax and the current cost of supplies, compared with $25.4bn in 2006. Shell's chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, described the results as "satisfactory". His muted response to the record-busting profits probably reflects the company's worries about its reserves: Shell has dela

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