Group on a rig at sea

Operating a balanced portfolio in challenging conditions

Cairn has assets in both established and emerging locations. Some of these locations have their own specific challenges, due to factors such as deep water, remoteness and limited local infrastructure and expertise.

Cairn takes a rigorous and responsible approach to identifying, avoiding and managing risks associated with these challenges. We operate to the highest standards in both simple and complex environments; this helps us protect our licence to operate and allows us to add value to our assets.

Challenging locations

We continue to maintain our assets in deep water locations such as Senegal, Morocco and Greenland, and in terms of technical drilling, many deep water wells are no more complex to drill than shallow ones. However, some may present unique risks, including those arising from weather variations and extreme climate or sea states, or logistical challenges due to limited infrastructure and inexperienced personnel. Cairn has a strong track record of safe operations in such environments and is well equipped to apply our expertise under such circumstances.

Cairn’s reputation for responsible exploration rests upon rigorous planning and project implementation. This includes health, safety and environment assessment, well design, well control and environmental protection. Our stringent, uncompromising approach to well design and operation is applied to all categories of well, no matter how shallow or deep the water.

All our drilling programmes are governed by a Drilling Management System, which we continue to develop and refine in line with our commitment to continual improvement. This system helps us to assess, manage and mitigate potential risks, resulting in safe, effective and efficient operations.

Operating in Senegal

In 2015, we started our exploration and appraisal drilling programme in Senegal, building on the success of our 2014 campaign. We drew on our experience and lessons learned in 2014 and the expertise of our partners, which included our well activities delegate, ConocoPhillips. We identified and addressed similar challenges in 2015 as we encountered the previous year, while ensuring safe operations and competitiveness against a backdrop of reorganisation across the industry and rationalisation of key contractors. We successfully revised our major accident hazard assessment work and completed all Corporate Responsibility (CR) submissions to the Senegal authorities, while meeting our internal approval process without delay.

We continued to use and increase our deployment of local expertise and maintained momentum in capacity building with authorities, as well as training local contractors to work to industry standards in a complex contracting environment. This included positively influencing contractors not under our direct control. Our shore base team achieved a milestone figure of 900 days without a lost time accident on 23 January 2016. Their activities and safe operations were achieved within a difficult port environment with limited space and variable standards of operation by some other port users.

Applying our experience in UK and Norway

Cairn has highly experienced teams in Stavanger and London who continue to oversee the performance of the development projects Catcher and Kraken in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), applying our knowledge and expertise of complex challenging environments to support the operators of these assets in the UK and Norwegian sectors.

In 2015, we also applied for, and achieved, operatorship in the Norwegian sector, where we saw an opportunity to leverage our technical and CR capability in challenging environments. This includes meeting the strict Norwegian legislation requirements and applying lessons learned from working in the Arctic environment in Greenland, such as managing weather extremes, working in sensitive and remote locations, and liaising closely with stakeholder communities. Our experience of similar locations will be of great value should we commence any operations in the Barents Sea.

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