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Cnooc estimates oil output growth below target for third year

China's Cnooc (CEO -6%) is sharply lower after saying yesterday it is aiming for a production increase this year of as much as 4.3%, excluding contributions from its Nexen acquisition, well below its 6%-10% annual growth target for 2011-15 for a third straight year.

Barclays, for one, had been looking for a 6% increase from Cnooc, which has been struggling to boost its output over the past few years as domestic fields age.

Projects slated for development in 2014 include the Golden Eagle project in the North Sea and six in China; with these projects underway, some analysts say Cnooc could hit the 6% annual growth rate at the lower end of its target range, but 10% will be much harder.

Credit Suisse, Nomura and Bernstein all downgraded shares this morning.

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