Scottish oil explorer Cairn Energy said yesterday the UK Government would be asked to approve work at two major North Sea fields before the end of the year.
Cairn has stakes in both the Kraken and Catcher finds in UK waters, and said field development plans for the projects would be submitted to the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the first and second half of 2013 respectively.
Edinburgh-based Cairn, which revealed narrowing losses yesterday, expects first oil and revenue from the two discoveries in 2016 or 2017.
The firm holds a 25% interest in the Kraken development and 30% in the Greater Catcher area, which are thought to hold 160million and 135million barrels of oil respectively.
In its annual results for 2012, Cairn also said it wanted to return to Arctic waters next year and drill an exploration well offshore Greenland – subject to government approval.
Cairn has been leading an exploration charge into the Arctic, having said previously its exploration acreage in the region could hold billions of barrels of oil, but the firm has yet to make a commercial discovery and environmental groups claim its activities threaten the fragile Arctic environment.
Cairn chief executive Simon Thomson said the company’s proposed Arctic drilling operations were just part of its plans, because it is also exploring in Morocco, Senegal and the Norwegian North Sea.
“I believe the company is well-positioned to create significant value through our exploration led growth strategy in 2013 and 2014,” he added.
Cairn’s 2012 operating losses narrowed to £163.7million from £752.4million, while pre-tax losses were £128.6million, compared with £787.5million in the previous year.