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The Times: Oilfields promise rich harvest

By Peter Klinger
CAIRN ENERGY yesterday upgraded the oil-in-place estimates for its oilfields in north-western India by one million barrels to 3.5 billion barrels — only four years after Royal Dutch Shell relinquished its rights to the Rajasthan exploration licence for $7.2 million.
Yesterday, Cairn estimated that its three key fields on the Rajasthan block — Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwariya — contained 606 million barrels of proven and probable oil reserves, boosted to 795 million barrels if using enhanced recovery techniques. The reserve figures are 20 per cent higher than earlier estimates.
The Edinburgh-based company expects that the three fields combined can produce 150,000 barrels of oil per day from 2008, contributing substantially to reducing India’s reliance on oil imports. India, the world’s second-most populous country and boasting one of the fastest-growing economies, imports about 70 per cent of its 2.6 million barrel-a-day consumption.
Cairn has invested $450 million on drilling 125 wells in Rajasthan, and expects to spend another $100 million (£57 million) this year to further appraise the block. The company hopes to be granted government approval within months for a well that will search for oil beneath the Utarlai military airfield, situated in the midst of Cairn’s Rajasthan exploration block.

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