Cairn Energy said yesterday it was planning more exploration drilling off Greenland in two years.
The Edinburgh company said interpretation of 3D seismic on the Pitu block in Baffin Bay and southern Greenland acreage was well advanced.
It is targeting exploration drilling in Pitu in 2014, subject to Greenland government approval.
At the start of this year, Norwegian oil major Statoil took a 30.265% stake in Cairn’s Pitu block.
Cairn, which has been leading an exploration charge into the Arctic but has yet to make a commercial discovery, has said it saw significant potential in the block.
Interest in exploration for oil and gas off Greenland increased earlier this week with the arrival of another new player.
Tullow Oil, based in London but focused on African offshore operations, has taken a 40% stake in the Tooq licence in the northern Baffin Bay area, west of mainland Greenland, held by Maersk Oil.
Both firms said a decision to drill in the remote icy region, well inside the Arctic Circle, had not yet been made and was still years away.
Cairn has said its exploration acreage off Greenland could hold billions of barrels of oil. However, environmental groups claim the firm’s activities threaten the Arctic environment.
in August, Cairn said it planned to drill up to 15 wells in the North Sea before the end of next year.
The firm, which has increased its focus on the region this year with two multimillion-pound acquisitions, wants to increase its presence in both UK and Norwegian waters.
After acquiring Norwegian exploration firm Agora Oil and Gas for about £280million in April and Nautical Petroleum for £414million in June, Cairn now holds interests in 27 offshore licences in the North Sea; including stakes in the large Catcher, Kraken and Mariner fields.
The company has also retained a 10% stake in Cairn India.
Simon Thomson, chief executive of Cairn Energy, said: “Cairn is pleased with the progress made this year in rebalancing the portfolio for exploration-led growth underpinned by sustainable cash flow.
“Cairn’s balance sheet strength, entrepreneurial exploration skills and operational capabilities allow it to target high-impact wells across transformational frontier and mature basins whilst accessing further growth from the company’s development and production assets.”