Shell’s upstream oil production increased by 6% on the year to 1.77 million b/d in the fourth quarter of 2019, contributing to what CEO Ben van Beurden insisted is a “very strong upstream business,” even as profits plummeted on the back of low commodity prices and financial impairments.  Shell’s oil output was boosted by new developments ramping up in Brazil, the US Permian basin and the US Gulf of Mexico, although a 9% reduction in its upstream gas output resulted in flat overall production, of 2.81 million b/d of oil equivalent. Van Beurden said further production growth was expected from Shell’s newly producing Appomattox oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, which came on stream last May. […]