First introduced in 1981 by former European soccer star Sir Bill Gammell, Cairn Energy PLC holds the distinction of being the one of the largest and most successful independent oil and gas exploration and development companies in Europe. Along with Sir Bill Gammell, other of his family members (notably his father James and brother Peter) were involved in the development of the company during the early years. The company is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol CNE.
Cairn Energy began making its mark in the late 1980s with the purchase of some key oil properties in the UK North Sea as well as on an international level in countries like Papua New Guinea, Spain, Vietnam, China and Australia. It was through the 1988 acquisition of Conoco’s UK onshore acreage and later the purchase of Palmers Wood oil field just south of London that company was propelled into becoming one of the United Kingdom’s largest onshore oil drilling and production companies.
In the 1990s, the international focus shifted with major natural gas discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico and Sangu, offshore in Bangladesh near Chittagong. These discoveries were soon followed by the aggressive acquisitions of competitor oil companies like Teredo Petroleum, Holland Sea Search NV and Command Petroleum, all of which took place between 1994 and 1996. After hitting a peak in its drilling operations in the late 1990s, the company began raising billions in capital by selling off and leasing oil and gas land interests.
Cairn Energy is headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland where the company operates under the leadership of key people like Iain Tyler (Chairman) and Simon Thomson (CEO). In its most recent filing for the fiscal year ended 2016, the company showed an operating income of $148 million, which translated into a net income of just under $100 million.