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UPDATE 4-Chevron boosts annual share buyback, hikes US spending

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Annual buyback rate $17.5 bln, 2025 outlook between $10-20 bln

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Output goal affirmed at more than 3% per year volume growth

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Kazakhstan spending set to wind down

(Adds buyback, spending details)

By Sabrina Valle

HOUSTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Oil major Chevron Corp on Tuesday raised its share buyback program and reaffirmed its production guidance of more than 3% annual growth by 2027, while increasing spending in the United States.

Chevron increased its share buyback rate by 17% to $17.5 billion a year starting next quarter and doubled the annual range to between $10 billion and $20 billion by 2025, assuming Brent oil prices between $50-$70 per barrel, compared with around $80 now.

Shares rose 1.5% to $165.20 in pre-market trading.

This year's spending will be near the top end of its $15 billion to $17 billion through 2027 guidance, with a greater share in the United States, the company said. Chevron reaffirmed a plan to reach 1 million barrels per day of oil and gas from the U.S. Permian shale basin in 2025.

Outlays on oil operations in Kazakhstan are down by about $500 million and should decline by another $1 billion, leaving more room to invest elsewhere, the company said.

Chevron in January tripled its budget for buybacks to $75 billion with no fixed expiration date. The company last year posted record earnings that allowed it to authorize the most ambitious shareholder payout among Western oil producers.

The top Western oil companies paid a record $219 billion in dividends and share repurchases to investors in 2022, spurring outraged calls on governments to impose windfall taxes on the industry to help consumers with energy costs.

Chevron last year returned $26 billion via dividends and buybacks to shareholders and invested $15.7 billion in operations.

"Chevron intends to be a leader in both traditional and new energy businesses," Chief Executive Officer Mike Wirth said in his prepared remarks.

"This year we'll be running four grid-powered rigs and one natural gas driven frac spread. Around 40% of our grid-supplied power will be from wind and solar," the company added.

(Reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston, Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Sriraj Kalluvila and Barbara Lewis)

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