Royal Dutch Shell expects its fuel sales to fall or at best be broadly steady for the first quarter as some coronavirus restrictions ease, the world's biggest fuel retailer said in a trading update.

Shell said it saw refined oil product sales at 3.7-4.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first quarter compared with just under 4.8 million bpd in the last quarter of 2020.

Shell’s refining margins have improved to around $2.6 per barrel in the quarter from $1.6 in the previous quarter.

In liquefied natural gas business (LNG) trading, where it is a global leader, Shell said it expected results to be "significantly below average".

Shell sees its first-quarter LNG production at 7.8-8.4 million tonnes, compared with 8.2 million in the previous quarter.

Total upstream production was expected to rise to 2.4-2.48 million barrel of oil equivalent from 2.37 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.

An extreme cold snap in Texas is expected to have shrunk its output by 10,000-20,000 bpd and to shave up to $200 million from its adjusted first-quarter earnings, due to be reported on April 29.

Benchmark crude prices in the first quarter rose around 24% and were trading near $63 a barrel on Wednesday.