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Photo: Ben Stanstall/AFP/Getty Images

Oil and gas giants Shell and Total, two of the world's largest energy companies, both reported a big jump in first quarter profits on Thursday.

Why it matters: The earnings show the fruits of the oil price recovery in recent months — with prices now around their highest levels in over three years thanks to lower global stockpiles, geopolitical tensions and other forces.

How they fared: Shell reported over $5.3 billion in profits, a 42% rise from the same period last year.

  • "Our strong earnings this quarter were underpinned by higher oil and gas prices, the continued growth and very good performance of our integrated gas business, and improved profitability in our upstream business," said chief financial officer Jessica Uhl in announcing the results.
  • Per Reuters, it's their highest earnings in over three years.

France-based Total, meanwhile, reported a $2.9 billion haul, which is a 13% rise. Its combined oil and gas production reached a new quarterly record of 2.7 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day, thanks to ramping up projects like Russia's Yamal LNG project, as well as its acquisition of Maersk Oil.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.