TOTAL has underlined its enthusiasm for the West of Shetland area by acquiring a further 10 per cent of a gas discovery there.
The French oil and gas giant has agreed to pay £10m for Faroe Petroleum's stake in the undeveloped Glenlivet find, months after buying a 60 per cent holding in the field from Dong.
Aberdeen-based Faroe is expected to book a profit of around £5m on the sale.
The company said the sale was in line with its strategy to turn its exploration successes into cash that it could use to fund activity elsewhere.
The sale to Total will also spare Faroe from having to pay a share of the costs of bringing Glenlivet onstream.
"Faroe's timely transaction will release significant capital for investment in Faroe's high-impact exploration and appraisal portfolio," said its chief executive, Graham Stewart.
The acquisition will provide Total with additional resources in an area where it has become a major player.
Total is one of a number of oil and gas giants that are developing big new fields in the relatively under-explored waters off Shetland.
The firm is leading on the £2.5bn development of the giant Laggan and Tormore gas fields around 75 miles north west of Shetland, which it expects to bring onstream this year.
Total expects Laggan Tormore to add an estimated 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of gas to UK production, and says the development could help transform the economics of other finds in the area.
It believes the pipelines and infrastructure installed for Laggan Tormore could be used to help develop a range of so-called stranded assets off Shetland.
Glenlivet lies only 10 miles from the Laggan Tormore pipeline and could be tied into that link.
In July Total bought 60 per cent of Glenlivet for an undisclosed sum from Denmark's Dong, which retains a 20 per cent holding.
The same month Total gave the go-ahead to the £340m development of the Edradour gas field west of Shetland after squeezing concessions out of contractors to improve returns on its investment.
Edradour will be tied into the Laggan Tormore facilities.
Faroe remains a big investor in the West of Shetland area, where it sees scope for oil and gas firms to make large finds.
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