Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy cuts losses and prepares to join the Barents Sea oil-goldrush

Cairn EnergyEdinburgh-based oil explorer Cairn Energy reported a $62 million loss after tax over the first half of the year, a reduction in losses from the same time last year when it was hit hard by impairments booked in its Indian business.

The company reported a $219 million loss after tax in the year-earlier period.

Cairn’s Indian subsidiary remains under investigation by the Indian tax authorities, meaning the parent firm is unable to tap its $1.1 billion stake in the business.

Cairn said its group cash position of $1.1 billion was adequate to pay for its operations in the foreseeable future.

However, Cairn plans to drill seven exploration and appraisal wells in the coming 12 months, with around $300 million earmarked to be spent in the second half of this year and another $110 million for its 2015 drilling campaign.

And tree non operated exploration wells are planned in the UK and Norwegian North Sea and Barents Sea over the next twelve months:

  •  Aragon (UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), MPX (20%) operator during exploration phase) is currently operating (Cairn 32.5% WI)
  • Ensis (Barents Sea, Statoil operator, Cairn 25% WI) is currently operating
  • West of Kraken (UKCS, EnQuest operator, Cairn 25% WI) due to commence Q3/Q4 2014

Cairn’s entry into the Barents Sea aims will join an emerging oil-rush in the region and to expand in a country where Cairn already has a significant portfolio of assets and fiscal terms offer a significant rebate on all exploration expenditure.

Cairn also said it plans to seek to pre-qualify as an oil driller/ operator in Norway and to apply for additional acreage in the Barents Sea in the 23rd licence round.

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