Cairn Confirms Exploration, Appraisal Drilling Plans for 2014

UK independent explorer Cairn Energy confirmed Tuesday that it is participating in two North Sea exploration wells (Aragon and West of Kraken) in 2014, with a further exploration well (Tulla) scheduled for 2015.

In the firm's results for 2013, Cairn noted that the field development plan (FDP) for its 25 percent-owned Kraken field in the North Sea has received approval from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change with first oil expected in late 2016/early 2017. Approval of the Catcher FDP – in which Cairn has a 30-percent working interest – is expected by the operator during the second quarter of 2014.

Elsewhere, Cairn expects to begin drilling the first of two planned exploration wells offshore Senegal in April, while its Spanish Point appraisal well offshore Ireland is planned for drilling by the end of the third quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Cairn said that its partner, Kosmos Energy, is expected to begin drilling one exploration well on the Cap Boujdour Contract Area in 2014

"Cairn has an active drilling program in 2014 that is complemented and balanced by its sustainable development and production portfolio," Cairn Chief Executive Simon Thomson said in a company statement.

"The strategy continues to focus on an attractive mix of frontier and mature basin exploration. By building a growing prospect and lead inventory, from which to select and high grade prospects for drilling, we aim to offer shareholders material potential growth opportunities over the long term."

Cairn's CEO also said the firm is committed to resolving its tax dispute with the Indian government. The firm announced Tuesday that it was suspending a $300 million share buyback program due to its inability to sell its 10-percent stake in Cairn India because of the dispute.

Proved and probable reserves booked by Cairn at December 31, 2013 amounted to 30.1 million barrels of oil equivalent – almost double the 16 million boe booked at the end of 2012.



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