UPDATE 1-Cairn in talks on possible Greenland stake sale

Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:14am EST

* Macquarie says sale likely in second half

* Cairn shares up 1.4 percent

By Tom Bergin

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - UK oil explorer Cairn Energy is talks about the possible sale of a stake in its Greenland exploration interests, according to an analyst note.

Cairn's exploration boss Mike Watts told an industry conference organised by investment bank Macquarie on Monday about the talks, according to a research note published by the bank on Thursday.

Cairn shares were up 1.4 percent at 1307 GMT, outperforming a flat STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index.

A spokeswoman for Cairn declined to comment on the note but said the company previously announced that it planned to seek a partner in the Greenland blocks.

Macquarie said it saw a sale of a stake in the blocks as more likely to happen in the second half of the year, after Cairn had completed analysis of seismic data which it hopes will show encouraging signs of oil deposits.

Cairn's $1.2 billion Greenland drilling campaign has so far failed to generate a single oil find - much to the pleasure of green groups who believe drilling in the pristine Arctic region poses too much risk to the environment.

However, the failure has been a disappointment to big oil groups like Exxon Mobil which have also secured exploration rights in Greenland, in the hope of opening up a major new oil production province.

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