Despite cuts, Big Oil to expand production into the 2020s
* Oil majors' output set to rise 9 pct by 2018 - analysts
* Production will gain modestly after 2020, mostly for gas
* Capex cuts to moderate, but not stop, growth
* GRAPHIC: Oil majors' output growth tmsnrt.rs/2c0eSev
By Ron Bousso
LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Never mind the drop in crude prices, huge spending cuts and thousands of job losses - the world's top oil and gas companies are set to produce more than ever for some time.
While top oil companies struggle with slumping revenues following a more than halving of prices since mid-2014 after years of spectacular growth, their production has persistently grown as projects sanctioned earlier in the decade come on line.
Overall production at the world's seven biggest oil and gas companies is set to rise by around 9 percent between 2015 and 2018, according to analysts' estimates.
With an expected recovery in prices, the increased production should boost cash flow and secure generous dividend payouts, which had forced companies to double borrowing throughout the downturn. Continuación...