Scotland business

Cairn Energy to begin Moroccan exploration

Cairn Energy training facility
Image caption Cairn said it was about to start on an "intense operational period on the exploration front"

Oil firm Cairn Energy has announced it is to start a year-long "high impact" exploration programme, with drilling to begin soon in Morocco.

The company said the move would offer shareholders "exposure to material growth potential".

A number of possible follow-up exploration prospects have also been mapped.

Cairn said that a decision would be made soon on whether to drill the Pitu prospect off Greenland next year.

The Edinburgh-based group's drilling programme in Greenland has so far been unsuccessful and has been strongly criticised by environmentalists.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Cairn said that it remained in a "strong financial position ready to enter an intense operational period on the exploration front".

Chief executive Simon Thomson said: "Cairn continues to follow its policy of maintaining appropriate balance sheet strength as it progresses its exploration and development programmes."

The company also announced it would begin a share buy back programme of up to $300m (£186m).

Cairn got shareholder approval for the move earlier in the year.

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