By Marcus Leach

Royal Dutch Shell have announced a staggering 41 per cent increase in their first quarter profits for 2011.

With higher world oil prices the Anglo-Dutch company said profits for the first three months of the year were $6.9 billion (£4.1 billion) compared with $4.9 billion a year ago.

“Our first quarter 2011 earnings have risen from year-ago levels, driven by higher industry margins and our own operating performance," said chief executive Peter Voser.

"The recent increase in oil prices clearly demonstrates the interdependence of global energy suppliers and consumers, in an industry that needs sustained investment in diverse energy sources to meet customer demand.

"We continue to make good progress in implementing our strategy; improving near-term performance, delivering a new wave of production growth, and maturing the next generation of growth options for shareholders.

"We have announced new asset sales and cost savings programmes, as part of Shell’s focus on continuous improvement, to enhance our profitability and performance."