“7 Lessons from 7 Project Sanctions – a Perspective from a Non-Operator”
with Paul Mayland, Chief Operating Officer, Cairn Energy Plc

Having spent a considerable period of his career working on Operated Upstream Assets, Paul Mayland has been fortunate enough over the last seven years at Cairn Energy to have worked with colleagues, JV partners, contractors and host governments to bring several upstream oil and gas projects successfully to a final investment decision (FID), mainly as a non-Operator.  In some cases, Cairn has stayed with the project beyond FID (or Project Sanction), through Execution and into Production and in other cases, they have chosen to exit.

During this short presentation, Paul will try to share some key learnings from each of the projects including fit with Strategy, Investor perspectives, JV partnerships, aligning around project and government goals, assessing risks and mitigations, and emphasising the importance of being able to reach the Project Sanction Gate.  The basis on which this is achieved for a given project, will be ever more important as we look forward into the Energy Transition and see a different role for oil and gas in the overall energy mix of the future.

Cairn Energy Plc is one of Europe’s leading independent oil and gas exploration and development companies and has been listed on the London Stock Exchange for 30 years.  Cairn has explored, discovered, developed and produced oil and gas in a variety of locations throughout the world as an operator and partner in all stages of the oil and gas lifecycle.

Cairn’s exploration activities have a geographical focus in the North Sea, West Africa and Latin America, underpinned by interests in production and development assets. Cairn has its headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland, supported by operational offices in London, Senegal and Mexico.

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Our Speaker

Paul has been COO at Cairn Energy since January 2013 and has 25+ years industry experience. He re-joined the Group in August 2010 as Director of Business Development and Planning and played a key part in re-shaping Cairn’s portfolio during 2011/2012 including the acquisitions of Agora Oil and Gas AS and Nautical Petroleum. Subsequently, he was involved in progressing the discoveries in Senegal through appraisal and development planning to reach project sanction in late 2019.

Paul initially joined Cairn in 1996 from British Gas as Senior Petroleum Engineer. He was involved in all the key projects in Asia including the world class discoveries and developments in Rajasthan. From 2007-2010 he worked as a Senior Advisor in Corporate Business Development for Vermillion Energy in Calgary.

Paul is a Chartered Engineer with the Energy Institute and holds a MEng in Petroleum Engineering from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He is also co-author of 3 SPE papers and a regular speaker at Energy Industry Forum such as Africa Oil Week, IP Week, Offshore Europe and is pleased to present to the Scottish Energy Forum.


We are extremely grateful for the generous funding provided by Pinsent Masons LLP, RBC Capital Markets and Gneiss Energy which allows the Scottish Energy Forum to not charge a fee to attendees.


Due to the COVID-19 outbreak this event will now be delivered by webinar using the ‘Zoom’ Video Conferencing facility.

If using a workplace computer to connect, please ensure your organisation allows access to the ‘Zoom’ software or alternatively use your private email address to subscribe. Zoom is FREE and you can register here https://zoom.us/signup?zcid=1231

Delegates should register for the event using this page. Once your application is approved you will receive log-in details to join the webinar. We send these some 24hours beforehand to enable you to check the functionality. We strongly recommend you check the ‘Zoom’ connection before the broadcast.

Questions of our speaker will be handled by our Chair Nicola Gordon through the ‘Q&A’ facility on ‘Zoom’.

We ask all delegates to ‘mute’ their microphones to avoid background noise and disruptions to our speaker.


4.50PM – Delegates join the webinar and wait for the host to activate the session.

5PM – Update from SEF Exec Sec.

5.05PM – Introduction of our speaker by Chair Nicola Gordon.

5.10PM – Paul Mayland presentation.

5.45PM – Q&A through Zoom ‘Group Chat’ functionality. Managed by SEF Chair Nicola Gordon.

6.25PM – Vote of Thanks.

6.30PM – Webinar finishes

Booking Conditions

Please note that registering for an SEF event does not guarantee you a place until your request is processed and accepted by the SEF.

We will operate a ‘wait list’ if our events are over-subscribed with priority being given to paid-up members of the SEF.

During our events we actively encourage reasoned debate amongst the audience and with our invited speaker; however, we request that all participants are mindful and respectful to others points of view. Attendees who cannot abide by these simple houserules, or who disrupt proceedings or use defamatory remarks, will be invited to leave the presentation.

We reserve the right to refuse entry to those attendees who have not pre-registered.