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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Cairn secures big Indian oil deal
Oil well
Cairn plans a partial flotation of its Indian oil business
The Indian Government has given the green light to plans by oil company Cairn Energy to develop four oil fields in Rajasthan.

Official approval for the scheme came after Cairn secured a new $1bn (542m) bank loan.

Sir Bill Gammell, Cairn CEO, said the moves were "a significant achievement".

Cairn also said it was on track for a partial flotation of its Indian exploration and production business on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Proceeds from this flotation would be returned to shareholders, the Edinburgh-based company said.

Raised estimates

India is one of the world's largest importers of crude and is working with firms such as Cairn to develop its oil industry and feed its booming economy.

The latest agreement gives Cairn approval for the Mangala, Aishwariya, Saraswati and Raageshwari fields in exploration block RJ-ON-90/1 in Rajasthan.

Earlier this year Cairn raised estimates for the amount of oil in the key Rajasthan exploration zone up to 3.5 billion barrels from 2.5 billion.

At the same time it posted annual profits of $79.1m (45.5m), signalling a recovery from a previous $15.7m loss.

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