EDINBURGH-BASED oil producers Cairn Energy say they are “excited” about the company’s plans to increase production from its North Sea oilfields.

Simon Thomson, chief executive of Cairn Energy PLC, told the company’s Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh yesterday that Cairn has achieved first oil from both the Catcher and Kraken developments in the North Sea.

He added: “Both developments are ramping up to achieve full capacity production by mid-year with 17,000 to 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) expected to Cairn over this year, with production continuing to grow into 2019.

“We are excited about Nova in Norway where development planning work is ongoing and we expect to achieve first oil in 2021 with peak net production to Cairn of 10,000 bopd. The Plan for Development and Operation (PDO) will be submitted imminently with approval expected in Q3 2018.”

He added: “We have a drill-ready portfolio in the UK and Norway and this year began an extensive exploration drilling campaign over 2018 and 2019, targeting more than one billion barrels gross of unrisked reserves. In Q3, we expect to spud our first operated well in the region on the Ekland prospect.”

Thomson added: “Cairn’s strategy is to create, add, and realise value for shareholders from a balanced portfolio of exploration, development and production assets. Over recent years, we have rebuilt our company to deliver this strategy. Cairn today offers investors a fully-funded, full-cycle portfolio with an active development pipeline and a multi-year material exploration drilling programme.

“This ensured that 2017 was a very busy and successful year for Cairn and 2018 will be just as active.”

The international reach of Cairn was demonstrated by developments in its activities off Senegal in West Africa.

“In Senegal, we successfully and safely completed our third exploration and appraisal drilling campaign. We have now fully appraised the world class SNE field and have selected our field development concept, targeting first oil between 2021 and 2023.

“Tenders for the Floating Production Storage and Offloading Vessel (FPSO) and subsea infrastructure were issued in Q1 and responses are expected to be received by the end of May. We are targeting submission of the Evaluation Report to the Government of Senegal by the end of Q2. The transfer of Operatorship to Woodside will follow thereafter.

“We expect to pass several key milestones in Senegal later this year. We are working hard on the phased Exploitation Plan, which we will present to the Government of Senegal in H2 with a Final Investment Decision to follow. This plan will target production of 100,000 bopd from the field.”

Other plans across the Atlantic were outlined by Thomson: “Turning to exploration, we are planning to drill four wells in 2019-2020 in Mexico where we have acquired new licences. These sit in very attractive acreage next to blocks where significant discoveries have recently been made and we have already identified several attractive prospects and leads.

“We are also evaluating and actively examining further exploration activities to extend our portfolio, including Ireland and now Suriname, where we have been awarded a large, operated exploration block. All of this planned activity is fully funded.”