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Shell outpacing its rivals

Oil company Shell has outpaced peers with a forecast-beating rise in quarterly profit and said it would spend heavily next year on key projects, even as the big oil companies prepare to weather the full impact of a sharp drop in oil prices.

BP, Total and Eni have all met or beaten analysts' forecasts in a third quarter that ended before the worst of the price fall, but Shell saw the biggest increase.

Its adjusted net profit climbed 31pc. Oil prices have slumped over the past four months by more than 20pc to a four-year low.