Cairn Energy's strategy is to create value through an exploration-led investment cycle. It aims to commercialise and return this value to shareholders rather than necessarily follow long-term development-led growth. Over a decade ago, with cashflow from South Asia, this approach led to spectacular success in India and top-quartile value creation. Replicating this business model of discover and develop with the potential to dispose, has been a challenge. However, the company has been through a series of steps into a smaller, more nimble E&P player. It has also recently undergone a significant acreage reload. It has a good balance of high-impact, frontier acreage and lower-risk exploration, development and production assets. Early entry and high equity positions have ranked high on its list of requirements and Cairn now has options to pursue its strategy across three core plays.