Production growth is a familiar issue for a number of large-cap energy companies, with ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), BP (NYSE:BP), and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) all looking for minimal annual production growth over the next three years. Instead, these companies have largely prioritized their balance sheets and cash payouts to shareholders over growth. CNOOC (NYSE:CEO), China's largest offshore operator, should be looking at better production growth in the coming years (possibly in the high single-digits over the next five years), but recent shortfalls have brought that growth into question, and a lot depends on ongoing turnaround efforts at the company's Nexen subsidiary.
The compensation for this less-than-perfect near-term performance is an undemanding valuation. With...
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