Cairn to keep Greenland and look elsewhere

Cairn Energy has vowed to continue drilling for oil off Greenland, but says it will try to rebalance the risk by acquiring new, safer assets elsewhere.

The British company has spent USD 1.2 billion in unsuccessful exploration off the coast of Greenland so far, with a pre-tax loss for ongoing projects last year standing at USD 1.9 billion after it was charged USD 943 million for the failed drilling.

The firm’s net profits however remained at a record 4.57 billion dollars thanks to discontinued operations, such as the sale of some of its stake in Cairn India. The company retains a 22 percent stake in its Indian arm and returned USD 3.5 billion to shareholders this year.

It is now looking to spend the remaining USD 1.2 billion, with Cairn chief executive Simon Thomson announcing that they are considering near-term opportunities in “exploration, appraisal, development and possibly production”.

“It’s a balance of lower risk with organic growth potential, against the transformational potential from the big exploration positions. Our aim is to exit 2012 with that rebalanced portfolio,” Thomson said in a report by The Telegraph.

Cairn is also still looking to bid in Cyprus and Lebanon and considering the possibility of drilling in Spain. The company claimed, however, that it remains “convinced that all of the ingredients for success in Greenland are present”, adding that it will now look at the “mountain of data” it has produced on the area.

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