Cairn Energy draws a blank at North Sea well thought to hold 160 million barrels of oil

Cairn Energy's chief financial officer James Smith and chief executive Simon Thomson. Picture: Contributed
Cairn Energy's chief financial officer James Smith and chief executive Simon Thomson. Picture: Contributed
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Cairn Energy has admitted that the Chimera well, hailed as one of the most most significant prospect in the UK and Norway drilling programme, is dry.

The Edinburgh-based oil explorer said it had drawn a blank at the well, which experts had previously though could hold 160 million barrels of oil equivalent.

It will now be permanently plugged and abandoned.

Cairn had farmed out a 40 per cent interest in the well to Suncor Energy UK in November and 15 per cent to DNO North Sea (UK) earlier this year.

In a trading update, the group said: "The objective of the well was to prove hydrocarbons in Paleocene Heimdal Sandstones within the Lista Formation. The well is dry.

"The well was drilled to a vertical depth of 1,830 metres below the sea surface and was terminated in the Lista Formation in the Paleocene."

It had previously said Chimera had the potential to be “highly material to shareholders”.

Cairn's exploration programme for 2019 has so far delivered four unsuccessful wells.

Last month the group announced overall production from North Sea assets was beating expectations, unveiled pre-tax profits of $43.4 million (£35.2m) for the six months to the end of June, swinging from a hefty $602.9m loss the year before.

READ MORE: North Sea production ahead of hopes as Cairn Energy moves to profit