UPDATE 2-CNOOC estimates oil output growth below target for 3rd year

Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:48am EST
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* 2014 output growth rate of 4.3 pct below some estimates

* Misses own forecast for 5-year annual output growth of 6-10 pct

* Capex set at $17.4 billion-$19.8 billion, up as much as a third

* 20 projects slated for construction in 2014

* Up to 10 new projects to get under way

By Charlie Zhu

HONG KONG, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Top Chinese offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd is aiming for an up to 4.3 percent output increase this year, excluding contributions from acquisition Nexen, well below its average annual growth target for 2011-2015 for a third year.

CNOOC has vowed it will still meet the annual growth target of 6-10 percent for the five years through 2015, increasing its capital spending budget by as much as a third from last year to almost $20 billion and aiming to get 20 projects into construction this year while launching up to 10 more.

The 2014 growth rate target missed the expectations of some research houses, including Barclays, which had been looking for a 6 percent increase for this year. CNOOC, once an investor darling for its high-growth profile, has been struggling to boost its output over the past few years as domestic fields age.   Continued...