About us

Our story

Cairn is an experienced oil and gas explorer, developer and producer, which has operated in a variety of locations around the world.

Historically, Cairn focused on South Asia where it created significant value for shareholders and stakeholders, particularly through its discovery, development and production of oil in Rajasthan, India. This was the largest onshore discovery in India for more than 25 years, with the potential to provide more than 30% of India’s daily crude oil production and generate many billions of US dollars in revenue for the Government of India.

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In 2006 the Indian business, Cairn India Limited (CIL), was listed on the Indian stock exchanges and in 2012 Cairn sold the majority of its stake in CIL and returned cash to shareholders as part of its business model to create, add and realise value for shareholders. Between 2006 and 2012 Cairn returned US$4.5 billion to shareholders.

Since then Cairn has focused on rebuilding the business to create, add and realise value once again through exploration, development and production.

Today, Cairn continues to offer growth opportunities through its frontier exploration success in Senegal and through future cash flow from its North Sea development assets, which are targeting production in H2 2017 and which will fund future exploration and growth of the business.


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1980
  • Cairn founded by Sir Bill Gammell
1988
  • Cairn Energy PLC formed and listed on the London Stock Exchange with market capitalisation of £25 million
1993
  •  Entry into Bangladesh via joint venture with Holland Sea Search N.V
1994
  •  Acquisition of further interest in Bangladesh
1995
  •  Acquisition of Holland Sea Search N.V, increasing Bangladesh presence
1996
  • Acquisition of Command Petroleum Limited, which included operatorship of the Ravva field in India
  • Sangu gas field discovered in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh
1997
  • Partnership with Shell in Bangladesh and India, including a 10% interest in Rajasthan (India) block
1998
  • Interest acquired in the Cambay Basin, India, with Cairn as operator
  • First gas from Sangu, Bangladesh
  • First exploration well in Rajasthan, India (Guda)
1999
  • First Rajasthan discovery (Guda)
  • Ravva oil field reserves doubled and production increased from 3,700 bopd to 50,000 bopd
2000
  • First Cambay Basin discovery, Lakshmi, India
2001
  • Second Cambay Basin discovery, Gauri, India
2002
  • 100% of Rajasthan block acquired from Shell
  • First gas from Lakshmi, India (discovery to delivery in 28 months)
2003
  • Second Rajasthan discovery (Raageshwari)
2004
  • Three major Rajasthan discoveries – Mangala (the largest onshore oil find in India for 25 years), Bhagyam and Aishwariya
  • Joined the FTSE 100
2005
  • First oil from Gauri field, India
2006
  • Cairn India Limited created
2007
  • Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Cairn India Limited on Indian Stock Exchanges, raising US$2 billion and returning US$1 billon to shareholders, 69% interest retained, biggest IPO in India at the time
  • Acquired interests offshore Greenland
2009
  • Production commenced from the Mangala field, Rajasthan
  • Mangala Processing Terminal (processing the crude oil from the Rajasthan fields) opened
2010
  • Pipeline from Rajasthan to refineries completed, world’s longest pipeline at the time
  • Three wells drilled offshore Greenland
2011
  • Five wells drilled offshore Greenland
2012
  • Sale of 40% of Cairn India Limited (CIL) to Vedanta Resources Limited; US$3.5 billion returned to shareholders, 10% interest in CIL
  • Sale of additional 11.5% interest in CIL for ~US$1.3 billion
  • Acquisition of UK listed company Nautical Petroleum PLC, bringing exploration and development assets in UK and Norwegian North Sea (including Kraken development) and exploration in Morocco
  • Acquisition of private Norwegian company Agora Oil and Gas AG, bringing exploration and development assets in UK and Norwegian North Sea (including Catcher development)
2013
  • Farm-in as operator to three blocks offshore Senegal, West Africa
  • ConocoPhillips acquired 25% interest in Cairn’s blocks offshore Senegal, Cairn retained operatorship and 40% interest
  • First well drilled offshore Morocco, Foum Draa permit
2014
  • Second well drilled offshore Morocco, Juby Maritime permit
  • Two successful wells drilled offshore Senegal, resulting in the FAN and SNE oil discoveries
2015
  • Relinquishment of Foum Draa and Juby Maritime permits offshore Morocco
  • Non-operated well offshore Western Sahara
2016
  • Four successful exploration and appraisal wells offshore Senegal