Cairn Energy

Cairn Energy PLC is one of Europe's leading independent oil and gas exploration and development companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Cairn has discovered and developed oil and gas reserves in a variety of locations around the world. Cairn Energy has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Cairn Energy PLC
Public limited company
Traded asLSECNE
ISINGB00B74CDH82 Edit this on Wikidata
IndustryOil and gas
FounderBill Gammell Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key people
Ian Tyler (Chairman)
Simon Thomson (CEO)
ProductsPetroleum, natural gas and other petrochemicals
Revenue$533.4 million (2019)[1]
$154.9 million (2019)[1]
$93.6 million (2019)[1]


The company was founded in 1981 by Sir Bill Gammell, the former international Rugby player, his father James (Jimmy), his brother Pete and others. Its initial operations were in the USA and, following its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1988, it expanded into the UK North Sea and internationally (Papua New Guinea, Spain, Vietnam, China and Australia). Cairn acquired Conoco's UK onshore acreage in 1988 and became one of the largest operators of UK onshore oil production with the Palmers Wood oil field just south of London, near Junction 6 of the M25,[2] and at Humbly Grove (near Basingstoke).[3]

Cairn's expansion started with a substantial (non-operated) gas discovery (East Cameron 331) Bangladesh near Chittagong, in 1996.[4] In parallel, Cairn launched a series of takeovers of public listed companies – Teredo Petroleum in 1994,[5] Holland Sea Search NV in 1995[6] and Command Petroleum in 1996.[7]

In 1996, Cairn farmed out a 25% interest in the Sangu field to Halliburton in return for Halliburton bearing a 50% share of the development costs.[8] In 1997, it sold half of all its Bangladeshi interests to Royal Dutch Shell in return for Shell assuming a $330 million carry of Cairn's exploration and development costs.[9] This agreement gave Cairn an interest in Shell's huge acreage position in Rajasthan onshore in North West India. Cairn drilled two unsuccessful exploration wells and Shell then sold its 50% share to Cairn for $7.5 million: Cairn's third well, now 100% owned, found the Mangala oil field.[10]

Cairn Energy offices in Lothian Road, Edinburgh

In December 2010, Cairn agreed to sell a stake of 58.5% of Cairn India, its India-focused subsidiary, to Vedanta Resources for $8.67 billion.[11] Talks between the two companies started in August 2010.[12] However, approval did not come from the Indian government until September 2011 and the deal had to be restructured.[13]

The company sold an additional 3.5 per cent of its shares in its Cairn India for about US$360 million in June 2012.[14] In March 2014, the company announced that Bill Gammell would step down as chairman after the annual general meeting on 15 May 2014.[15]


Cairn holds a balanced portfolio of exploration, development and production assets, with interests in the following countries; the UK, Israel, Mauritania, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Mexico and Suriname.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2019" (PDF). Cairn Energy plc. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  2. ^ Onshore Oil and Gas Discoveries 1983–2000 National Archives
  3. ^ "Production of oil from a single well". East Hampshire Council. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  4. ^ Conclusion of successful Sangu drilling programme PR Newswire, 1996
  5. ^ Michael Seymour: Biography
  6. ^ Presentation to The Scottish Oil Club by Dr. Mike Watts of Cairn Energy titled "Building a Business in South Asia" Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine Scottish Oil Club, November 2004
  7. ^ Oilex seeks a passage to India Daily Mail, 21 August 2006
  8. ^ Alliance to produce gas off Bangladesh Oil & Gas Journal, 5 August 1996
  9. ^ Shell joins Cairn Energy in natural gas projects in Bangladesh, India Journal Record, 1 May 1997
  10. ^ Cairn's oil find in Mangala to reduce India's import bill Financial Express, 14 November 2008
  11. ^ "Vedanta Shareholders approve deal with Cairn - Economic Times". Indiatimes. New Delhi. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Vedanta agrees to buy Cairn India stake". Upstream Online. NHST Media Group. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  13. ^ Lamont, James (14 September 2011). "Cairn progresses in sale of $6.5bn stake -". Financial Times. New Delhi. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Cairn Energy sells 3.5% India arm stake". 29 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Sir Bill Gammell stepping down from Cairn Energy". Oil Patch Asia. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Operations". Cairn Enery. Retrieved 12 May 2020.

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