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Ugly duckling refineries turning into swans

An end to the oil boom spurs a focus on refining instead of drilling

TURNAROUND: In the first quarter, processing crude and producing chemicals contributed 80 per cent of Shell's adjusted net income, up from 22 per cent a year earlier.


OIL companies' least-loved business over the past five years is proving to be their lifeline.

Margins from refineries in north-west Europe rose fivefold last quarter to the highest since at least 2003, data from Total SA show. In the preceding quarter, the share of profit...