CAIRN Energy has suffered another reverse in its exploration programme off Norway.

Norwegian authorities announced that a ‘wildcat’ well drilled by the Edinburgh-based company on the Lynghaug prospect was dry.

Cairn made no comment on the announcement.

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However, the result may have come as a big disappointment for the firm.

Cairn noted in January that the wells it planned to drill off Norway and the UK this year would target material prospects.

The Lynghaug well was the first Cairn has directed off Norway as the operator in charge of the exercise. It was also the first drilled on the Norwegian Sea licence concerned.

Cairn participated in a well drilled by Equinor in the Norwegian North Sea earlier this year, which was also dry.

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The company’s chief executive Simon Thomson recently underlined Cairn’s belief in the exploration potential of its acreage off Norway and the UK, which it describes as a key region.

The company will hope for better luck with the forthcoming Godalen well in the Norwegian Sea.

It also expects to drill a well on the Chimera prospect in the UK North Sea in the second half.

In March exploration director Eric Hathon told analysts Chimera had the potential to be highly material to shareholders.

Exploration drilling fell to a record low off the UK following the plunge in the crude price from 2014 to 2016.

The Oil and Gas Authority launched the latest UK licensing round yesterday. The regulator released what it described as a significant amount of data on the acreage that will be made available in the hope of encouraging interest.

Shares in Cairn Energy closed up 0.2p at 173.9p.