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Cairn Energy plc
Type Public (LSE: CNE BSE: 532792)
Founded 1981
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key people Norman Murray, Chairman
Sir Bill Gammell, CEO
Industry Upstream oil production
Revenue $299.3 million (2008)
Operating income $42.7 million (2008)
Net income $366.7 million (2008)

Cairn Energy plc (LSE: CNE) is an independent oil exploration and extraction company. Its headquarters are in Edinburgh, Scotland and it is listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is currently a member of the FTSE 100 Index, having fluctuated between it and the FTSE 250 since 2004.



The company was founded in 1981 by Sir Bill Gammell, the former international Rugby player, who remains its CEO, his father James (Jimmy), his brother Pete and others. Its initial operations were in the USA and, following its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1988, it expanded into the UK North Sea and internationally (Papua New Guinea, Spain, Vietnam, China and Australia). Cairn acquired Conoco's UK onshore acreage in 1988 and became one of the largest operators of UK onshore oil production with the Palmers Wood oil field just south of London, near Junction 6 of the M25,[1] Humbly Grove (near Basingstoke) and others.

Cairn's expansion started with a substantial (non-operated) gas discovery (East Cameron 331) in the Gulf of Mexico in 1993 followed by another large gas discovery at Sangu, offshore Bangladesh near Chittagong, in 1996.[2] In parallel, Cairn launched a series of takeovers of public listed companies - Teredo Petroleum in 1994,[3] Holland Sea Search NV in 1995[4] and Command Petroleum in 1996.[5]

In 1996, Cairn farmed out a 25% interest in the Sangu field to Halliburton in return for Halliburton bearing a 50% share of the development costs.[6] In 1997, it sold half of all its Bangladeshi interests to Shell in return for Shell assuming a $330 million carry of Cairn's exploration and development costs.[7] This agreement gave Cairn an interest in Shell's huge acreage position in Rajasthan onshore in North West India. Cairn drilled two unsuccessful exploration wells and Shell then sold its 50% share to Cairn for $7.5 million: Cairn's third well, now 100% owned, found the Mangala oil field.[8]


Cairn Energy is currently active in India, Bangladesh, Nepal,[9] Greenland and Tunisia in both exploration and production. Its average daily production in 2006 was 25,000 BOE/d. In 2006 Cairn spun off its production interests in Western and Eastern India into a separate company called Cairn India Limited. Cairn Energy maintains a 69.9% initial interest in Cairn India [10]. Acreage held by Cairn India includes the Mangala Area in Rajasthan which is thought to contain up to 1 billion Bbls of recoverable reserves and came onstream August 29, 2009 with a projected plateau production rate of 175,000 bbls/d.

Cairn still maintains production operations in the Sangu Gas Field offshore Bangladesh as well as exploration acreage in Northern India, Nepal and Southern Bangladesh. In August 2007, it was announced that Cairn had submitted applications for two blocks located in the phase 2 of the Disko West licensing round offshore West Greenland [11].

Cairns announced that it will start oil production in Rajasthan, India in Aug 2009. This oil production is expected to meet about 20% of India's oil demands over the next few years. [12].


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