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Exxon Mobil predicts lower production this year

NEW YORK — Exxon Mobil expects production to decline by about 1 percent this year due to weaker output of natural gas.

Over the next five years, however, the oil and gas giant expects production to rise by 2 percent to 3 percent per year.

The company gave the forecast Wednesday at its annual meeting with analysts.

Exxon Mobil’s production fell 6 percent last year, but the company still earned $44.9 billion, barely missing its own 2008 record, thanks to higher refining margins.

CEO Rex Tillerson says global energy demand will grow 35 percent by 2040 with oil and gas accounting for more than coal, nuclear or other sources.