Cairn Energy exploring Malta in hunt for oil and gas

Source:  Audrey-Ann Cassingena¸ PKF Malta¸ 18th December 2012

Oil ExplorationThe parent company of Capricorn Malta¸ Cairn Energy¸ which has been granted an oil exploration concession in Malta¸ is focused on exploring new lands to hunt for oil and gas after being awarded three exploration blocks off Malta.

Cairn has a strategy to balance its exploration portfolio and to share the risk with partners.  The Edinburgh exploration company had announced plans to hunt for oil and gas in new areas in Morocco and in the Mediterranean.  The move is part of the firm’s strategy to balance its exploration portfolio after failing to find commercial reserves off Greenland.

The group cut its pre-tax losses for the first six months of this year from $141m (£89m) to $50m (£31m).  On continuing operations¸ the company made a profit of $37m (£23m).

Cairn’s chief executive Simon Thomson said the company was interested in “things that haven’t been explored before” adding that “Spain is a very good example¸ as is Morocco¸ but also Cyprus – which is also effectively undrilled.”  Cairn is also considering applying for acreage off Lebabon.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland¸ he said advances in technology were making it possible to access areas which had not previously been explored.

Cairn has spent the last two years with much of its focus on Greenland. Although it has failed to find any commercially viable deposits of oil there¸ the company said it was still committed to the region.

Herald Scotland quoted a spokesman for the company saying: “Cairn has a successful track record in frontier exploration and has demonstrated the ability to develop and manage complex exploration and drilling projects successfully¸ whilst minimising its impact on local communities and the environment.”

Malta seems to be attracting the attention of big names such as Genel Energy¸ that acquired interests in blocks off southern Malta from Mediterranean Oil & Gas and  Cairn Energy  that now discreetly confirmed the company entered into an Exploration Study Agreement with the government of Malta.

Cairn explained: “The ESA covers an initial two-year period with geological studies¸ reprocessing of existing and acquisition of new 2D seismic data and limited capital works¸ with the right to negotiate a production sharing contract on an exclusive basis thereafter” adding that “the agreement can be extended to a third year in order to acquire 3D seismic.”

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