NORTH Sea-focused explorer Trap Oil has agreed a £1.5 million deal that will give it a majority stake in the Orchid discovery.

Meanwhile, recent Alternative Investment Market (AIM) entrants Eland Oil and Gas and Bridge Energy have also reported progress.

Trap Oil has entered into non-binding heads of terms to acquire an additional 45% interest in the Orchid discovery in the Central North Sea from Summit Petroleum.

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This would give London-based Trap Oil a 60% stake and allow it to become the operator.

Chief executive Mark Groves Gidney, said: "It marks another step towards Trap Oil becoming a well established and recognised operator."

Eland Oil and Gas, the Aberdeen-based firm which floated in September, told investors its partners in the OML 40 licence in onshore Nigeria had approved a $126m (£78.4m) work programme for 2013.

Production at the prospect, which was acquired from Shell, will restart by the end of the first quarter and the drilling of new wells later this year.

Chief executive Les Blair said: "Our objective is to be producing at an initial rate of 2500 barrels of oil per day by the end of the first quarter."

Aberdeen-based Bridge Energy, which in September added an AIM listing to its position on the Norwegian market, said that after a year of discoveries it plans to focus on exploiting its finds in 2013.

Chief executive Tom Reynolds, CEO of Bridge Energy, said: "Bridge has significantly grown production, resources and its capability over the past year and starts 2013 with a wider portfolio of growth options to pursue."