Cairn comes up empty-handed again

Cairn Energy has yet again failed to find oil or gas at its wells in Greenland. The Scottish exploration company’s shares fell one percent on the announcement that another two dry wells are to be plugged and abandoned.

The firm’s Greenland campaign has cost it around GBP 400m (EUR 466m) in the last year alone, and it is now thought to be looking for potential partners to share the cost of future drills.

Simon Thomson, Cairn’s chief executive, attempted to gloss over the disappointment in a statement.”The first phase of Cairn’s exploration programme in Greenland has encountered oil and gas shows across multiple basins and now reservoir-quality sands in the Atammik block,” he said.

“Whilst we have yet to make a commercial discovery, we remain encouraged that all of the ingredients for success are in evidence. Evaluation of data across Cairn’s multiple blocks is ongoing against a backdrop of active farm-out discussions for selected areas,” he added.

Cairn massively reduced its stake in India after experts predicted that the Arctic region could hold around 20bn barrels of oil. Their drilling schedule, which is limited due to the region’s harsh seasons, was however frequently disrupted by Greenpeace protesters who are concerned about the potentially devastating effect of oil spill in the sensitive environment.

Vicky Wyatt, a senior campaigner for Greenpeace – which has since been banned from approaching Cairn vessels – said, “However the company tries to spin this, Cairn’s Greenland misadventures have been an unmitigated disaster from day one; the company squandering a fortune drilling one dry hole after another. These results show that the incredible technical, economic and environmental risks of operating in the Arctic simply aren’t worth it.”