Cairn En­ergy has stake in two North Sea as­sets Ac­tiv­ity in sec­tor pick­ing up

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - BUSINESS - BY MARK LAMMEY

Scot­tish oil firm Cairn En­ergy said yes­ter­day that it had struck a deal with Azi­nor Cat­a­lyst to farm into North Sea as­sets.

Ed­in­burgh-based Cairn will take a 50% stake in the Agar-Plan­tain well and 25% of the wider p1763 li­cence.

Apache Cor­po­ra­tion is the other li­cence part­ner.

With farm-in ac­tiv­ity sub­dued in re­cent years, the deal is an­other sign that the North Sea is be­com­ing a more at­trac­tive place to in­vest.

The com­pa­nies did not say how much Cairn had paid.

Lon­don-based Azi­nor, which is backed by Seacrest Cap­i­tal Group, has now booked the Transocean Leader semisub­mersible rig to drill Agar-Plan­tain in the third quar­ter of 2018.

Azi­nor will re­tain op­er­a­tor­ship of the pro­posed ap­praisal well, though Cairn has an op­tion to take over that role at a later date.

The Agar dis­cov­ery and Plan­tain prospect are thought to hold about 60 mil­lion bar­rels oil equiv­a­lent, with a po­ten­tial up­side of 98 mil­lion.

They sit east of Apache’s Beryl field, about 210 miles north-east of Aberdeen.

Azi­nor made the Agar dis­cov­ery in 2014 with well 9/14a-15A.

Azi­nor ex­plo­ration di­rec­tor Henry Mor­ris said: “We are de­lighted to wel­come Cairn on to the li­cence as we move to­wards drilling. As a com­pany with a strong and suc­cess­ful North Sea pedi­gree, we re­gard Cairn’s farm-in as fur­ther val­i­da­tion of the ex­cit­ing po­ten­tial of the Agar-Plan­tain op­por­tu­nity.

“Our tech­ni­cal teams have been work­ing to re­fine the fi­nal el­e­ments of the well plan and we are en­thu­si­as­tic about the po­ten­tial we are see­ing. We are also pleased to have signed a con­tract with Transocean to se­cure the ser­vices of the Transocean Leader semisub­mersible to drill Agar-Plan­tain.

“Sub­ject to re­ceipt of fi­nal reg­u­la­tory ap­provals we ex­pect to spud in Q3 2018.”

Azi­nor’s Par­tridge well came up dry last year.

A spokes­woman for Cairn said the farm-in was an “at­trac­tive near-term drilling op­por­tu­nity” in an area with good prospects.

“The deal fits with our wider plans for drilling a ma­te­rial cam­paign across the wider re­gion in the next year or so,” she added.

Sep­a­rately, Cairn will start work on Ek­land, its first op­er­ated ex­plo­ration well in the UK North Sea, in the third quar­ter. The com­pany’s ex­ist­ing North Sea pro­duc­tion comes from non-op­er­ated stakes in the Kraken and Catcher fields.

DEAL: Cairn En­ergy has taken a 25% stake in the P1763 li­cence

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