AMSTERDAM (AP) - Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company, has reported a 45 percent fall in net profit for the first quarter after it wrote down the book value of refineries in Asia and Europe.

AMSTERDAM (AP) Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company, has reported a 45 percent fall in net profit for the first quarter after it wrote down the book value of refineries in Asia and Europe.

Net profit was $4.51 billion (3.27 billion euros), down from $8.18 billion in the same period a year ago, including a $2.29 billion charge on the refineries, notably the Bukom refinery in Singapore.

Shell said that stripping out various charges and fluctuations in the price of oil, profits were down 3 percent. Its production arm increased underlying earnings to $5.71 billion from $5.65 billion, while its refining arm saw earnings shrink to $1.58 billion from $1.85 billion.

Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said refining margins on the whole are under pressure from excess capacity.