British energy giant Shell said Friday that it expects lower natural gas sales in the first quarter after a particularly strong performance in the final three months of 2023.

Integrated gas sales "are expected to be strong, but significantly lower than an exceptional" fourth quarter, Shell said in a statement.

The update was published ahead of the energy major's first-quarter results that are scheduled for May 2.

"In Q1 we saw solid (gas) supply against higher inventory levels, decreased prices and reduced volatility driving strong results, but lower than Q4 record performance," a Shell spokesperson said.

"The exceptional Q4 performance was driven by seasonal demand for winter inventory -- some buyers paying premium prices to replenish stocks for winter and reduce price exposure -- and significant volatility at the beginning of Q4."

Conversely, Shell added Friday that sales of chemicals products should be "significantly" higher in the first quarter.