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ExxonMobil Trims Oil, Gas Production Forecast

Updated production targets reflect multiple delays, including slower-than-expected ramp up of the Kearl oil sands project.

NEW YORK - ExxonMobil (IW 500/1) Wednesday cut its forecast for oil and gas production after a number of major projects hit snags in the ramp-up phase.

The U.S. oil giant now projects that petroleum output will hit 4.3 million barrels per day in 2017.

While that is higher than the 4 million per day in 2013, it is well below the company's previous forecast of 4.8 million barrels per day in 2017.

The company also said it would pump 4 million barrels in 2014, the same as last year.

The updated forecast follows a string of recent travails that have hit production.

They include a slower-than-expected ramp-up of the Kearl oil sands project in Canada and a months-long outage at the massive Kashagan field in Kazakstan due to pipeline problems.

The production target is closely watched on Wall Street as a proxy of the company's long-term prospects.

Analysts have criticized Exxon and other oil giants for spending heavily while struggling to boost output.

Although Exxon has long emphasized its desire to boost production, it has also said it will not undertake projects with poor financial returns just to increase oil and gas output.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said the company has improved "unit profitability" through better fiscal terms and reducing investment in projects that yield poor profits.

"We have financial flexibility to pursue potential strategic opportunities and maintain a disciplined and selective approach to capital that ensures that any new investment will contribute to cash flow growth," Tillerson said

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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