Chevron Corp reiterated plans to grow production by about a fifth by 2017, helped by massive liquefied natural gas projects in Australia that are set to start up beginning in 2014.

These are long-lived assets that will generate significant cash flow for decades, George Kirkland, vice chairman and executive vice president for upstream and gas, said of the two LNG projects, which will together cost well over $60 billion.

The company has set a production target of 3.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (bpd) by 2017, assuming oil prices of $79 per barrel, up from its anticipated output of 2.68 million bpd this year.

At a meeting with analysts in New York, Chevron also said the start-up of investment-heavy projects would allow the company to reduce the amount of cash on its balance sheet, as analysts sought clues on potential dividend increases.

The second-largest U.S. oil company also said it planned to hold on to its West Coast refineries at a time when others are pulling out, including rival BP Plc , which has put its Southern California refinery up for sale.

(Reporting by Matt Daily in New York and Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Derek Caney)