Profits for BG Group, due to be taken over by Shell next year, fell dramatically as low oil prices continued to take its toll on producers.

While exploration and production rose by 26%, the Reading-based company reported that earnings per share fell by 63% to $280m (£182m €254m) from $759m (£495m €6985m) the previous year.

"Total earnings for the third of 2015 were a loss of $101 million (£65m €91m)," the company said in a statement, adding that this included impairments, disposals and foreign exchange movements.

The firm is dealing with an oil price that has halved over the last year, due to oversupply and limited demand.

Nonetheless, BG Group's chief executive Helge Lund praised staff for a "strong operational performance" and said the company was "on track" to deliver their promised operating and capital cost-savings for 2015.

The company, which agreed a merger with Shell earlier this year was continuing to work on integration planning and securing the necessary regulatory approvals ahead of the shareholder vote," he said.

"The transaction remains on track to complete in early 2016," he said of the $70bn (£47bn €63bn) deal agreed earlier this year.

Shell reported it made a $1.77bn adjusted profit in the third quarter, a fall of 70% from the same period in 2014. The number is well below the already soft market expectation of $2.92bn.

The Royal Dutch company turned a loss attributed to shareholders of $7.42bn (£4.91bn, €6.85bn), from a profit of $4.36bn in the third quarter of 2014.