TRAPOIL will operate the Knockinnon prospect in the North Sea following an equity swap with Caithness Oil.

The deal sees Trapoil taking a further 35% stake in Knockinnon – discovered in 2000 and estimated to contain six million barrels of oil – giving it 70% in total.

In exchange it is giving up a 35% interest in the Forse prospect to Caithness.

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Trapoil has the option to take a 20% stake in Forse for a nominal sum once the first well there is drilled.

If Caithness does not spud the well by December next year Trapoil stands to gain either a $7 million cash payment or a loan note of the same value.