About us

Our story

In 2018 Cairn will have been listed on the London Stock Exchange for 30 years.

An experienced oil and gas operator, it has successfully discovered and developed reserves in a variety of international locations in partnership with host governments.

Cairn’s historical focus on South Asia created significant value for shareholders and stakeholders, particularly through its discovery, development and production of oil in Rajasthan, India, which was the largest onshore discovery in India for more than 25 years. A long-term investor in India, Cairn sold the bulk of its interests in 2012 and set about rebuilding the portfolio. Between 2006 and 2012 Cairn returned US$4.5bn to shareholders.

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Having created a legacy asset for India, Cairn then focused on rebuilding the business to create, add and realise value once again through exploration, development and production. We made the largest global offshore discovery of 2014 in Senegal, and participated in the development of two of the largest current projects in the UK North Sea which began production in 2017.

Cairn’s exploration focus is on adding value for shareholders from high impact exploration at appropriate equity levels. This exploration is sustained by the Group’s production and development assets in the North Sea which will provide the cash flow to support future exploration and development activity and deliver the long-term strategy.


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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
2017
  • Five successful exploration and appraisal wells offshore Senegal
  • Two licences awarded in Mexico offshore licensing round
  • First oil delivered from both Kraken and Catcher developments
2018
  • Development planning in Senegal with first oil expected in 2021-2023
  • One licence awarded in Mexico Shallow Offshore Bid Round 3.1