MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Woodside Energy Group Ltd, Australia's top independent gas producer, flagged on Thursday a drop in free cash flow over the next few years, which raised alarm among analysts about future dividend payouts. Woodside's shares fell 1.8% after its annual investor briefing in a broader market that was up 0.9%, even after Chief Executive Officer Meg O'Neill said the company was committed to paying out at least 50% of net profit after tax. Analysts are forecasting a payout of around $4 billion a year over the next few years, which Barrenjoey analyst Dale Koenders said would use up free cash flow and potentially leave no room for growth projects like the Trion oil project off Mexico, estimated to cost between $6 billion and $8 billion.
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