James Smith, director of the oil and gas team at Rothschild, is leading the team on the deal for Cairn.

He joined the company in 2008, and his expertise is mainly in M&A deals involving energy and fossil fuels, having worked for the global oil and gas advisory boutique Harrison Lovegrove and for Merrill Lynch as an oil and gas specialist.

He previously advised Cairn on the sale of its Indian operations to Vedanta Resources, which was completed late last year.

The $5.4bn deal gave Cairn enough money for a massive share buyback earlier this year.

More recently Smith has been advising Total on its bid for Wessex Exploration along with Roger Ader and other colleagues from the bank. Total now has until 16 April to decide whether to follow up on its offer for Wessex.

Bank of America and Morgan Stanley are also involved in the Agora deal announced yesterday.