Cairn to pay $450m for Agora in a move away from Greenland

OIL explorer Cairn Energy said yesterday it would buy Agora Oil & Gas for $450m (£280.7m) to increase its drilling activity in Britain and Norway in 2012.

The deal marks the first step in Cairn’s strategy, outlined last month, aimed at reducing its exposure to exploration in Greenland, where most of its assets are located.

It suffered an operating loss of $1.1bn last year, mainly due to problems finding commercial quantities of fuel in Greenland.

The company, which has previously indicated interest in exploring the Spanish coast, did not rule out further acquisitions this year.

“There is the potential, certainly, for more transactions. We have the capacity to do that,” chief executive Simon Thomson said

“I’d like to think, without giving any specific timing, that we will be active this year in terms of other opportunities,” he added.

Cairn has been busy in the mergers and acquisition field over the past year, having sold the majority of Cairn India to Vedanta for $5.4bn.