Cairn looking at opportunities to explore for oil, gas in Lebanon


British oil firm Cairn Energy (CNE.L) said it was focusing on concluding a long running deal to sell a stake in its Indian unit to Vedanta (VED.L), but was also looking at opportunities to explore for oil and gas in Lebanon.

“Cairn is encouraged that the Vedanta transaction is moving toward completion,” said the company in a statement alongside its interim results on Tuesday.

“The conclusion of the Vedanta transaction in the coming months is a key focus for the group.”

In June, India granted conditional approval for Vedanta to buy a stake in Cairn India (CAIL.NS) in a $6 billion deal that was first announced in August 2010.

The parties are currently working to satisfy the conditions for the deal to complete, said Cairn.

Part of the cash returned from the Indian transaction could be used to fund exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean where Cairn said it has teamed up with a Lebanese private company and UK-based explorer Cove Energy (COVE.L).

The company said it wanted to participate in a licensing round in Lebanon, expanding its reach to a new frontier basin.

Cairn also plans to spend $600 million in Greenland this year drilling up to four wells in its attempt to open up a new oil province, but has so far had little success in the Arctic territory.

The company said it had cash of around $1 billion on June 30, with a production of around 167,000 barrels of oil in the first half, and revenues of $1.3 billion.

Shares in Cairn, which have fallen 26 percent in the last month, closed at 289.7 pence on Monday, valuing the company at around 4 billion pounds ($6.6 billion).

($1 = 0.608 British Pounds)