Oil major Royal Dutch Shell has said that it will "curtail" spending by $15bn (£9.9bn, €13.3bn) over the next three years, but that it will keep dividends stable, as it sought to pacify investors amid falling oil prices.

Shell's stock was trading 3.46% lower at 0835 GMT in London.

Europe's largest oil firm by market value said on 29 January, it had left its fourth-quarter 2014 shareholder dividend stable, versus the preceding quarter, at $0.47 per share and that it proposes to pay the same amount in the first-quarter of 2015.

The announcement came as the Anglo-Dutch firm said fourth-quarter 2014 earnings on a current cost of supplies basis rose to $4.2bn as against $2.2bn a year ago, meeting expectations. But net income dropped 57% to $773m.

Shell, in a statement on 29 January, said that 2014 earnings also rose, to $19bn from $16.7bn in the preceding year.

The company said it had sold off some $15bn in assets in 2014, "completed before markets weakened across the end of the year."

Shell also said that it expected 2015's capex to drop but did not say by how much.

Shell said in the statement: "Organic capital investment in 2015 is expected to be lower than 2014 levels, and we have curtailed over $15bn of potential spending over the next three years. Shell has options to further reduce spending, but we are not over-reacting to current low oil prices and keeping our best opportunities on the table."

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said: "Shell has delivered where it counts in 2014. We are stepping up our drive for stronger capital efficiency, whilst being careful not to over-react to the recent fall in oil prices.

"We set out an agenda in 2014 to balance growth and returns in Shell, and our results in 2014 show that this strategy is impactful where it matters: at the bottom line..."

Van Beurden added: "Our strategy is delivering, but we're not complacent. Weaker oil prices underline that there's a lot more to do. The three themes of financial performance, capital efficiency and project delivery will remain as Shell's priorities in 2015."

Shell, on 28 January, inked an agreement with Iraq to build a petrochemicals plant in the southern oil hub of Basra. The deal is reportedly worth $11bn (£7.2bn, €9.7bn).

Iraqi Industry Minister Nasser al-Esawi told a press conference in Baghdad that the Nibras petrochemicals factory, which is expected to be operational in five to six years, will make Iraq the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East.

Earlier in the month, the oil giant agreed to pay a Nigerian fishing community £55m as compensation for its role in the worst oil spill in Nigeria's history, according to both parties.

Shell rivals BP and Total have also made it clear that they do not intend to cut investor dividends even if oil prices stay low for longer.

Oil prices have tanked some 60% since June 2014 amid a supply glut and weak global demand.