NORTH Sea driller Trap Oil revealed a new strategic partnership yesterday and hiked its interest in two fields in a bid to cement its position as a well operator.
The firm, which bought Aberdeenshire-based Reach Oil & Gas in 2011, said it had teamed up with Abu Dhabi-owned Taqa Bratani and a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Itochu to bid for exploration licences in UK waters.
Each party will hold equal working interests in prospects proposed by Trap for joint exploration and appraisal applications in the forthcoming 28th licensing round. Trap will get a lump-sum retainer and its partners will carry a portion of its exploration and appraisal costs.
Chief executive Mark Groves-Gidney said the “strong and ambitious” consortium was a reflection of Trap’s experience, expertise and technical capabilities, as well as its access to state-of-the-art seismic data.
Trap is also increasing its stake in the Surprise and Nutmeg oil discoveries in the Moray Firth basin after taking an 85 per cent interest from Dana Petroleum.
The deal, which has no monetary value as Dana relinquised its share under the terms of a previous agreement, will see Trap’s stake in the two fields jump to 90 per cent. First Oil Exploration and First Oil Expro share the remaining 10 per cent.
Surprise and Nutmeg are believed to contain about 12 million barrels of oil and Groves-Gidney said he plans to press ahead with an appraisal well.
He added: “Increasing our equity position in the promising Surprise asset will enable us to secure operatorship, subject to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s approval, and therefore assume greater control over the scheduling of activities to further progress this appraisal asset towards development.”