Cairn expects North Sea fields to plateau this year

The North Sea operations of Edinburgh-based oil and gas company Cairn Energy helped it give an optimistic outlook amid its 2017 results on Tuesday.

Cairn said it achieved first production from both its Kraken and Catcher fields during the year with both fields “expected to reach plateau” by the second half of 2018. 

The company added: “Cairn expects the JV to shortly sanction the Nova development in the Norwegian North Sea, where first oil is expected in 2021, and is progressing development planning in Senegal where first oil is targeted between 2021 and 2023. 

“Together, these assets will provide long term sustainable production and cashflows which the group will continue to deploy across its portfolio.”

Cairn said that it held cash balances of $86 million at December 31, 2017, representing a net cash outflow of $249 million.

In its outlook, Cairn said: “We have made excellent progress against our strategic objectives in the year, delivering key milestones in the development planning of the resource base in Senegal, achieving first oil and cash flow from our North Sea developments and continuing to replenish and extend future exploration opportunities. 

“Our portfolio provides exposure to high impact exploration drilling whilst the group’s production assets provide the cash flow to sustain exploration and development activity.

“The strategic development and progress of the Cairn business has been achieved whilst maintaining balance sheet strength and funding flexibility.”

Cairn CEO Simon Thomson said: With first oil production from its North Sea developments, Cairn continues to deliver a strong and balanced business with a growing production base supporting further development and a multi-well exploration programme offering significant growth potential.

“The SNE field in Senegal is now fully-appraised and the Joint Venture is targeting Government approval of the Exploitation Plan by the end of this year.

The company continues to maintain balance sheet strength and financial flexibility as we focus on creating, adding and realising value for shareholders from a portfolio of attractive exploration, development and production assets.”