Cairn Energy profit slumps

LONDON: Cairn Energy, which recently began pumping oil in India, said Tuesday that its net profit slumped 93 percent to 16.5 million pounds (24.7 million dollars) in 2009.

Profit after tax slumped as lower energy prices dented income and on higher expenditure by the company caused by its new oil project in Rajasthan, India.

The net figure beat analyst expectations of profit totalling 4.4 million pounds (6.6 million dollars), according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Analysts expect oil production in India to transform Cairn Energy's balance sheet and profitability this year, with cash flow from operations forecast to increase more than 15 times to around one billion dollars.

Cairn Energy began last August to pump crude from a vast oilfield in the Indian desert state of Rajasthan that is set to increase the country's crude output by 20 percent.

Cairn had bought the field in 2002 from Anglo-Dutch giant Shell, which had concluded it contained no major reserves. Two years later, Edinburgh-based Cairn struck oil