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Cairn Energy begins drilling offshore Greenland with two new rigs

Oil and gas producer and FTSE 100 constituent Cairn Energy (LON:CNE) has commenced drilling operations on the Alpha prospect (Alpha-1) in the Sigguk Block offshore Disko Island in Greenland.

This drilling programme targets the Alpha and T8 exploration prospects which lie in water depths of between 300 and 500 metres. The wells have planned target depths of 4,200 metres and 3,250 metres and are anticipated to take 55 and 38 days respectively. Each well is being drilled using a pilot hole through the initial top hole section.

Cairn has also announced that it has hired fifth generation semi submersible rig Stena Don and sixth generation drillship Stena Forth for the drilling programme to ease concerns over the risks of an accident similar to that which led to the a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of BP’s (LON:BP) deepwater drilling platform Deepwater Horizon, wiping out more than half of the supermajor’s market value.

Earlier this month, the Government of Greenland Cabinet granted the formal approval for the first two wells of Cairn's 2010 planned four well exploration programme in the Disko West area.

The company’s exploration programme in Greenland is expected to cost £300 million.