Cairn Energy today confirmed that it will continue to search for oil in the Arctic despite two years of unsuccessful exploration and inadequate spill response plans.

The high risk strategy was announced as the company reported a pre-tax loss of $50m in the first half of 2012. The company aims to have an exploration well west of Greenland by 2014, where an oil spill accident would have devastating environmental consequences. The company report their chances of success as only 22%.

Paul Daly, Corporate Accountability Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Cairn’s lack of concern for the fragile Arctic environment is outrageous. They shouldn’t be drilling there in the first place, and indeed couldn’t be were it not for the fact that climate change is opening up this territory by shrinking the ice caps.

“Cairn say they will only proceed if they can find a financial partner willing to share the risk. Whether they can find a partner willing to take such a considerable financial risk is questionable, but if they do we are all faced with the risk of the utterly devastating consequences of a spill in Arctic waters.

“Shareholder confidence has already been shaken by the corporation’s poor results over the last few years, and increasing pressure to back away from the fragile Arctic.

“We urge shareholders to hold Cairn to account, not only on the financial risks of drilling in the Arctic, but the environmental risks too, and call on Cairn Energy to pull out of the Arctic and start investing in less risky, cleaner technologies.”


For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719 e: pfischer@foe-scotland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. Cairn Energy half-yearly results 2012 www.foes.do/PUFM5S

2. Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days – The Guardian www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/23/arctic-sea-ice-record-low

3. Cairn Energy loss eases; outlines exploration plan – Marketwatch www.marketwatch.com/story/cairn-energy-narrows-pretax-loss-to-50-million…

4. Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk