Cairn gears for Greenland drilling in 2011

Cairn Energy PLC said its Capricorn Energy Ltd. subsidiary plans its first operated exploratory drilling off southwestern Greenland in 2011 and wants more acreage off Greenland.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 31 -- Cairn Energy PLC said its Capricorn Energy Ltd. subsidiary plans its first operated exploratory drilling off southwestern Greenland in 2011 and wants more acreage off Greenland.

Capricorn completed its seismic work obligation in 2008 for the first license phase on its six operated licenses. It plans more seismic and at least three well site surveys in 2009.

The company won the acreage more than 2 years ago (OGJ Online, Jan. 21, 2007).

Capricorn shot 6,600 line-km of 2D seismic in the Disko West blocks Sigguk and Eqqua, 1,200 line-km in the southern Kingittoq and Saqqamuit blocks, and 1,780 line-km in the Salliit and Uummannarsuaq blocks (Cape Farewell 1 and 2). Processing is nearly complete.

Data are being evaluated from a controlled source electromagnetic survey run in 2008 in the Lady Franklin and Atammik blocks operated by EnCana Corp., Calgary.

Cairn Energy said, "The prospective geological basins around the coast of Greenland are at a very early stage of evaluation with only six offshore and one onshore exploration well having been drilled to date, and most of those during the 1970s. However, the results of these wells, together with more recent onshore geological mapping over the past 15 years, have confirmed the presence of all the essential elements required for the generation and trapping of hydrocarbons."

The Greenlandic and Danish authorities are gradually opening the Arctic areas of these basins through competitive bid rounds and other areas via application.

The US Geological Survey assessment of risked potential is 31 billion boe in the eastern Greenland basins, 3.3 billion boe in northern Greenland basins, and 17 billion boe in basins off western Greenland and northeastern Canada. The south Greenland offshore area lies below the Arctic Circle and wasn't assessed.

Offshore west Greenland can be considered as containing three geological basin areas with various subbasins, Cairn Energy said. The eight blocks the company acquired are spread across these main basins.

The two Disko blocks, for example, are in the undrilled Baffin Bay basin.

Capricorn wants to add to its acreage portfolio, particularly when authorities put the Baffin Bay and North East Greenland basins up for bid in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Subject to government approval, Capricorn intends to shoot reconaissance seismic in 2009 along Greenland's east coast, where it has applied for a prospecting license.

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