- Royal Dutch Shell said that it could potentially distribute $125bn or more to shareholders over the five-year period of 2021 to 2025 through share buybacks and dividends.

The oil giant also said that it was on track to deliver on its 2020 commitments and had increased its organic free cash flow outlook to around $35bn for 2025 at $60 per barrel.

By the end of next year, Shell said it planned to complete its $25bn share buyback programme in combination with reaching a gearing level of 25% and delivering $28bn-to-$33bn of organic free cash flow.

Shell paid around $52bn in shareholder distributions in the period of 2011-2015 and said it expected shareholder distributions of around $90bn in the period of 2016-2020.

The company said it would increase its dividend when there was 'a line of sight' to the completion of the $25bn share buyback programme.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden said that Shell had been re-shaped, with a focus on value, and had demonstrated a clear track record of delivering on its promises made in 2017.

'It is the success of our strategy and strength of our delivery today that gives us confidence for the future,' van Beurden said.

'Increased organic free cash flow outlook, greater potential distributions to shareholders and confidence in our world class investment case given our high-margin portfolio, improving returns and a globally recognised brand.'

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