About us

Exploration

Cairn’s exploration focus is on frontier and emerging basins acreage with the greatest potential value impact. Cairn holds frontier and emerging basin exploration acreage offshore Senegal, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Mexico, Suriname, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania.

Cairn also holds exploration acreage in the UK and Norway.  The mature and emerging basins of the UK and Norway provide balance to the frontier exploration portfolio and include the Barents Sea which is believed to have high potential for commercial oil discoveries.

Cairn’s frontier exploration focus has been on acreage along the Atlantic Margin which was formed millions of years ago when the supercontinent ‘Pangaea’ broke up to form the continents as they are known today and provides a range of underexplored and mature hydrocarbon basins with common geology and promising opportunities for organic growth. 

In 2012 Cairn embarked upon an exploration drilling programme along the Atlantic Margin including drilling offshore Senegal.  This resulted in Cairn opening a new hydrocarbon basin with two oil discoveries in Senegal in 2014, one of which, the SNE discovery, was the largest global oil discovery of 2014.   Cairn was the first to drill in deepwater offshore Senegal which remains relatively underexplored. Over the following three years Cairn delivered a successful exploration and appraisal campaign increasing this significant resource base and transitioning the SNE discovery into development planning.

Cairn has continued to expand its position along the Atlantic Margin securing three licences offshore Mexico in 2017 and 2018.  The Mexican Gulf region is significantly under-explored compared to the nearby analogous United States Gulf of Mexico and exploration drilling is expected to commence in 2019. Cairn also acquired licences offshore Suriname, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania, also along the Atlantic Margin, in 2018.

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