File: After 13 years of legal battles, an appeals court in The Hague ruled that Shell's Nigerian branch must pay out for oil spills on land in two villages. Ben Stansall/AFP
LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell dived into a net loss of $21.7-billion (R325-billion) in 2020, the oil giant announced Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic slashed global energy demand.
The Anglo-Dutch group's net loss compared with a net profit of $15.8-billion in 2019, the company said in a statement.
Shell's result is similar to British rival BP, which on Tuesday reported a 2020 net loss of $20.3-billion.
Both companies are axing thousands of jobs in response to the economic fallout from the pandemic.
After governments worldwide closed their doors and airlines grounded planes towards the end of last year's first quarter, oil prices dropped off a cliff, even briefly turning negative.
Prices then rebounded sharply, however - and they soared Tuesday to pre-pandemic levels on the brightening economic outlook as more progress was reported on vaccines.