Cairn: Catcher, Kraken developments remain on track

UK independent producer Cairn Energy confirmed on Tuesday that its Catcher and Kraken field developments in the UK North Sea remain on track to deliver first oil in 2017.

Reporting an update on its operations, Cairn said that the first steel cutting of the Catcher FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading) vessel has taken place and that development drilling on Catcher is scheduled to begin during the second half of this year. Development drilling on the Kraken field is planned for the end of the first half of 2015, while the construction of the FPSO to be used at Kraken is continuing in Singapore.

Peak net production to Cairn from the Catcher and Kraken developments is estimated at 20 000 boe/d. Cairn will retain a 20% working interest in the Catcher development after the sale of a 10% stake is completed at the end of January.

Elsewhere in the northwest Europe, Cairn remains involved in a program of non-operated exploration wells in the North Sea and it is undergoing a process to pre-qualify as an operator in Norway. The firm has also farmed into a 20% working interest in the PL420 license, which lies adjacent to the Skarfjell discovery on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Offshore West Africa, Cairn is working the Senegalese government and its joint venture partners towards a multi-well evaluation program for 2015. The program will consist of both exploration and appraisal drilling. The firm's partner offshore Morocco, Kosmos, is also currently drilling an exploration well in the Cap Boujdour contract area.

Meanwhile, offshore Ireland Cairn – as operator – plans to drill an appraisal well at Spanish Point during the first half of 2015.

Cairn continues to maintain a strong balance sheet, with group net cash standing at US$869 million at the end of December. The firm also said that its group reorganisation and 40% reduction in headcount, announced last summer, is now complete.

Cairn Chief Executive Simon Thomson commented in a company statement:

"Our focus in 2015 is on delivering a multi-well appraisal and exploration program in Senegal, following our success in opening up this new Atlantic Margin basin last year.

"The large acreage position in Senegal offers material near-term growth potential with numerous follow on prospects identified, and the joint venture is well positioned to benefit from the current reduction in industry costs.

"Cairn is fully funded to deliver its exploration and appraisal program, along with the Kraken and Catcher developments which are on track for first oil in 2017."

Thomson added that Cairn continues to seek a resolution to the company's issues with the Indian Income Tax Department which has seen Cairn remaining unable to access the value in its 10% residual shareholding in Cairn India Limited.

Adapted from press release by Joe Green

Published on 14/01/2015

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