ENEGI Oil has farmed out a stake in another of its licences to Bermuda-backed investors in a deal that underlines overseas interest in the UK North Sea.

Aim-listed Enegi, which hopes to develop onshore shale gas sites in Ireland, has agreed to farm out a 50% stake in part of a block in the central North Sea to Azimuth Limited.

The deal was announced two weeks after Enegi said it was farming out a stake in part of a block east of Shetland to Azimuth, backed by the Seacrest Capital investment business.

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In the latest deal Azimuth has agreed to complete a work programme that includes geological, geophysical and reservoir analysis activity on block 22/12b.

Enegi and ABTechnology have retained a 100% working interest in the area of the Phoenix discovery on the block.

The blocks Azimuth is farming into feature on a list of areas where Enegi believes it could use the buoys developed by ABTechnology to transform the economics of marginal fields.

ABTechnology is owned by Alan Minty, who is chief executive of Enegi.

A former Scottish squash international, Mr Minty has identified around 60 marginal fields in the North Sea in which he believes the unmanned buoys developed by ABTechnology could be used profitably.

He said: "Both deals [with Azimuth] are completely in line with our strategy of de-risking our portfolio while maintaining a significant interest in work programmes which we believe have the ability to deliver value to the company for a minimal capital outlay."

In November Enegi said work on a licence in the Clare Basin in Ireland indicated it may contain huge amounts of shale gas.

Yesterday a company spokesman said it plans to apply for an exploration licence for the area.

Asked whether Enegi would need to use the controversial fracking technique to develop shale gas in the area he said it was too early to say.