EnQuest has poached a senior executive from a big rival to be the new head of the company's core North Sea operations.

Neil McCulloch will join EnQuest as president, North Sea on April 1 from OMV, where he is a member of the team leading the company's production and engineering activities in areas including the UK.

The Austrian giant has significant interests in the West of Shetland area and the Central North Sea east of Scotland.

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Mr McCulloch gained extensive experience of running North Sea operations in his 11 years at BG Group before joining OMV.

EnQuest's chief executive Amjad Bseisu said he expected Mr McCulloch to make a valuable contribution to the development of the company.

EnQuest has a big portfolio of assets in the North Sea and is leading the £4 billion development of the Kraken heavy oil field off Shetland.

Mr McCulloch will succeed David Heslop, who retires as managing director United Kingdom Continental Shelf on 1 April. Mr Heslop will support EnQuest in an advisory capacity or on special projects.

Mr Bseisu thanked Mr Heslop for the contribution he had made to the development of the company, formed in 2010 from UK assets that were spun off by Petrofac and Lundin Petroleum.

"His leadership, knowledge and experience have been key to many of EnQuest's successes and achievements, and have helped us to build a world class organisation in Aberdeen. I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role with EnQuest in focusing on strategic initiatives for the company," said Mr Bseisu.