Cairn Soars after Second Major Oil Strike in India

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Byline: STEVE HAWKES

FAST-GROWING oil explorer Cairn Energy today revealed its second stunning discovery in a row in India.

Shares in the group raced ahead 1121/2p or 15% to an all-time high of 836p as Cairn said an exploration well in western India had struck an oilfield with recoverable reserves of up to 80 million barrels.

The find comes two months after the Scottish group, run by former rugby international Bill Gammell, found what is believed to be the biggest-ever oil discovery in India - up to 200 million barrels. Both finds are in the Rajahstan exploration block, a licence transferred over a number of years to Cairn by oil giant Shell for $20 million ([pounds sterling]10.5 million).

Gammell said: "In oil and gas terms you never think you have more than a 10% chance of exploration success but when you are drilling in the same area the chances are always higher."

Cairn's success since the start of the year has transformed its business.

Its potential reserve base has quadrupled and its market value has doubled to more than [pounds sterling]1 billion.

Analysts upped their price targets today and said the supermajors could soon be sniffing round the group, which believes its daily production could treble to 100,000 barrels in the next three years. …