Cairn Energy to extend Irish assets

File image of an oil rig.

By Geoff Percival

Scottish exploration company Cairn Energy plans to extend its interests offshore Ireland, where it already partners Providence Resources and Europa Oil and Gas on various assets.

The company told shareholders at its agm in Edinburgh that it is set for another “busy and successful” year.

This will be driven by its two producing assets in the North Sea, which achieved first oil last year and are set to produce 17,000-20,000 barrels of oil per day this year; drilling plans in Mexico and Norway; and the further development of what it views as a world-class field in Senegal.

However, chief executive Simon Thomson also said the company is “evaluating and actively examining further exploration activities to extend our portfolio, including Ireland”.

Cairn has a growing acreage in the Porcupine Basin off the south-west coast of Ireland, with five licences covering an area of more than 4,000 square kilometres.

Last year, the Scottish company spent $6m buying 70% of an Irish-based prospect owned by fellow UK exploration firm Europa Oil and Gas, and bought a 30% stake in another licence controlled by Providence Resources.

Cairn is also operator of the Spanish Point prospect, off the west coast, in which Providence also owns a stake.

Two years ago Cairn identified the SNE oil field in Senegal as its main focus and said offshore Ireland was not a priority, although it said at the time that it remained committed to exploring here.

Cairn said it is confident of a positive outcome, later this year, from an ongoing tax dispute relating to its former operations in India.

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