Shell earnings set to be cut by half amid plunging crude oil prices

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Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell said earnings are expected to more than halve for 2015 after being hammered by plunging crude prices.

The group, which is weeks away from completing a 55 billion US dollar (£38 billion) deal to buy BG Group, said it expects full-year underlying earnings to tumble to between 10.4 billion dollars (£7.3 billion) and 10.7 billion dollars (£7.6 billion).

This is slightly below expectations in the City and marks a sharp fall on the 22.56 billion dollars (£15.9 billion) reported for 2014.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, said the deal with BG Group will mark the start of a "new chapter in Shell, to rejuvenate the company".