Scottish explorer moves closer to Irish drilling

Scottish exploration firm Cairn Energy has begun evaluating seismic survey data relating to its offshore Irish acreage and said it remains on course for drilling in the area in 2015.

The company was due to begin drilling an appraisal well at its Spanish Point prospect, off the coast of Clare, this year in what would have been the only drilling work undertaken in Ireland’s much hyped offshore exploration sector during 2014.

A lack of rig availability, however, led to a postponement of the plans until 2015.

Cairn entered the Irish market by farming into two Porcupine Basin-based licences held by Providence Resources last year.

In a brief trading update yesterday, Cairn said its acquisition of 913km sq of 3D seismic data has been completed, regarding its Porcupine Basin/Spanish Point acreage, and evaluation of the data is under way.

“Plans continue to source a rig for the Spanish Point appraisal well, offshore the Republic of Ireland, in 2015,” the company stated.

“Cairn remains focused on maximising value for shareholders from disciplined capital allocation across a balanced asset base,” management said, after confirming that the company had group cash reserves totaling $953m (€756m) as of the end of September, with its existing $575m reserve-based lending facility remaining undrawn. It is thus fully funded through to free cashflow in 2017.

Cairn has plans to drill one exploration well in Morocco before the end of the year and has started a second well in Senegal, after oil was discovered on a previous drill.

The company is also continuing its efforts to reach a resolution on outstanding tax issues regarding its operations in India.


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