The record results – amounting to some £1.5m an hour – underlined Shell's current supremacy over arch-rival BP which barely lifted its profits when measured on the same basis.
They also outpaced US oil giant Exxon Mobil, which caught Wall St on the hop this afternoon with a fall in its quarterly profits instead of the expected rise. At $10.3bn, Exxon's profits remain comfortably ahead of Shell's, however.
The Anglo-Dutch group raised its dividend 14% to $0.36 per share and gave an upbeat assessment of future prospects.
"We continue to see competitive growth opportunities based on our technological strengths by making disciplined capital choices in an industry landscape of both higher energy prices and higher costs," said chief executive Jeroen van der Veer.
The $7.6bn earnings were calculated on the current cost of supply basis used by major oil companies but included a net gain from divestments of $660m. Without that boost, Shell still comfortably beat City expectations even though revenues were almost flat at $85bn.
Problems in Nigeria and lower demand in Europe due to warmer weather left production falling in the second quarter to 3.1m barrels a day compared to 3.2m in the same period of 2006. Total oil production was actually up 1% but gas was down 6%.
Civil unrest in the Niger Delta has left Shell without the 195,000 barrels of oil a day it can produce there and the company admitted "no firm date can be given for a return to full production".
The results were well received, with Shell's "A" shares up by mid-morning, only to be caught up in the afternoon FTSE sell-off. The shares closed down 32p to £19.37.
Shell has been going through a strong period of recovery after it was hit by a scandal over the way it had been overstating its reserves to the US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and dismissed its then chief executive.
This contrasts with BP, which brought forward the exit of its former boss Lord Browne His successor, Tony Hayward, reported a 12% fall in underlying profits at BP in the second quarter earlier this week. in May after a series of accidents in the US.
Shell particularly benefited in the second quarter from very high refining margins while BP had been hit by some of its key refineries being out of action.
Analysts at Citigroup, the investment bank, said the Shell figures showed it was "sitting in the sweat spot" of a benign oil and gas price environment but warned the second half of the year would be tougher.
Broker Kepler Teather & Greenwood Merrion, described the figures as "strong" and said it would be upgrading its end-of-year profit forecasts for Shell while Investec said the next decade promised "rising capex (capital expenditure), modest growth and the promise of better things next decade".
by Terry Macalister