Cairn pins hopes on Lebanon

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH oil firm Cairn Energy confirmed yesterday that it is lining up exploration opportunities in Lebanon, as its long-running deal to sell a stake in its Indian business nears an end.

In June, India granted conditional approval for Vedanta to buy a stake in Cairn India from Cairn Energy in a $6bn deal that was first announced a year ago.

Should state-controlled partner ONGC give its consent, the finalisation of the sale could come by the end of September, said Cairn’s chief financial officer yesterday.

“With a fair wind and all the stars aligning, it could complete by the end of September,” chief financial officer Jann Brown said, adding that given past delays she was wary of making predictions.

With the drawing to a close of the Indian deal, Cairn said it was now looking to Lebanon and the potential to find oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The company said it planned to participate in a licencing round in Lebanon due to take place next year, where its success would add acreage in a politically-sensitive part of the world.

Shares in Cairn, which have fallen 26 per cent in the last month, closed up 1.45 per cent to 293.9p.