Cairn IMS Shows it 'Continues to Evolve'

Cairn Energy's interim management statement issued Thursday shows that the independent oil firm is "continuing to evolve", according to analysts who follow the business.

The statement, issued to the London Stock Exchange, showed few surprises but it confirmed that the company remains on a growth path, according to oil sector analysts at London-based Numis Securities.

"We believe the company's re-balanced portfolio, which continues to evolve, provides the foundations for sustainable growth. The asset base consists of lower risk development and appraisal opportunities with like-minded mid-cap E&P operators as well as higher impact, operated exploration opportunities that have the potential to create significant value," said a Numis research note on Cairn Thursday.

Cairn said in its statement that it expects to participate in several North Sea exploration and appraisal wells. Currently the firm is working closely with Premier Oil and other partners in the North Sea's Greater Catcher area on sub-surface interpretation and a "development concept selection process" ahead of submitting a field development plan.

At the Kraken development Cairn and operator EnQuest currently estimate gross 2C resources of 160 million barrels, with further appraisal drilling required to better define the field size. A field development plan here is planned for submission in 2013. Meanwhile, at Mariner – a heavy oil field with "high well deliverability" – Cairn's partner Statoil is still working towards project sanction.

Elsewhere, Cairn reported that, depending on the outcome of mapping and technical evaluation, exploration drilling of the Pitu block in Greenland is currently targeted for 2014. In Morocco, Cairn is planning a 3D seismic program is planned for 4Q 2012 in its Juby Maritime I to III blocks while it is targeting a well in the Foum Draa blocks in 4Q 2013.

In Trinidad & Tobago, Cairn has submitted a bid in the recent license round, while it also plans to participate in the forthcoming offshore Lebanon licensing round that is expected to be announced later this year.

Cairn confirmed that it had cash on its balance sheet of $1.6 billion at the end of September