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Coterra Energy eying change among oil investors' views on growth

DENVER, Nov 16 (Reuters) - U.S. shale producer Coterra Energy (CTRA) on Wednesday said investors may soon change their attitude toward pushing oil and gas companies to limit production growth in favor of returns, as oil prices and demand for energy surges.

"I would not be surprised if the call changes, and that investors, on the sell side broadly, start calling on us to grow modestly," said Tom Jorden, Chief Executive Officer of Coterra at a conference in Miami, Florida.

Oil firms have been laser focused on increasing dividends and buybacks rather than investing heavily in expanding production after years of low returns pushed investors out of the sector.

But such tepid growth plans, alongside factors like inflation, have limited oil growth in the U.S. and elsewhere, as demand has surged. This has driven prices higher for consumers, and prompted accusations of price gouging by some government officials.

On Wednesday, Coterra said it was forecasting a 10% to 20% increase in costs next year.

Government forecasters cut their 2023 outlook for crude output growth in the U.S. by 21% this month as some producers warned of weaker-than-expected well productivity and as inflation and supply chain shortages continue to hit the oil industry.

U.S. oil prices were trading around $85.6 a barrel on Wednesday. (Reporting by Liz Hampton in Denver; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Josie Kao)

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