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Shell to write-down as much as $2.3B in Q4 due to weak economic forecast

Royal Dutch Shell PLC will write-down between $1.7 billion and $2.3 billion in assets during the fourth quarter due to a weak macroeconomic outlook, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major cautioned in a Dec. 20 trading update. Shell did not disclose which assets the posttax impairment charges are tied to.

The company also said it anticipates weaker refining and trading margins in the fourth quarter, and its full-year 2019 capital expenditures are likely to come in toward the lower end of a $24 billion to $29 billion range.

Shell said it expects additional well write-offs in the range of $100 million to $200 million are expected, and higher taxes could dent fourth-quarter earnings by $500 million to $600 million.

While beating market estimates, Shell's third-quarter earnings fell on the year due to lower oil, gas and LNG prices and refining margins. Earnings attributable to shareholders dropped 15% to $4.77 billion in the third quarter from $5.62 billion in the same period a year ago.

Shell will release its fourth-quarter earnings Jan. 30, 2020.

In late October, Shell executives cautioned that the company might have to delay the completion of its share repurchase program as a sluggish world economy could slow the company's progress on reducing debt.

Shell's impairment news follows Chevron Corp.'s Dec. 10 announcement that due to expectations for continued softness in oil and natural gas prices, the California-based major will write-down $10 billion to $11 billion in the fourth quarter, with more than half of that figure related to Appalachian shale gas assets.