SHARES in North Sea-focused Jersey Oil & Gas surged around 30 per cent after the firm said it would resume drilling on a licence 60 miles north east of Aberdeen with Statoil after suffering a setback.

The Aim-listed company said it had agreed with Statoil to drill a sidetrack well on the Verbier prospect in spite of the firms' announcing last week that the first well on it had drawn a blank.

Jersey Oil chief executive Andrew Benitz said the results of the Verbier well had been disappointing.

However, analysis of the data gathered highlighted indications there could be a find to be made nearby. This would likely be smaller than the 160 million barrels targeted by the original well but may still valuable.

Jersey Oil will only have to pay £0.7 million towards the cost of the sidetrack.

Statoil bought into the licence containing the Verbier prospect in August last year for $1.2m, and agreed to fund up to $25m of the costs of the first exploration well.

The Norwegian giant said the move underpinned its strategy of exploiting prolific basins and deepening in core areas.

In July Statoil’s UK exploration boss Jenny Morris described the Verbier well as exciting.

Jersey Oil & Gas was formerly known as Trap Oil. The company struck the deal with Statoil to help in its efforts to realise value from the rump of the North Sea portfolio Trap amassed, helped by the £30m purchase of Banchory-based Reach Oil & Gas in 2011. Trap Oil lost £44m in 2014 following the fall in the oil price.

Jersey Oil & Gas shares closed up 28 per cent, 18.5p at 85p.

The company has a stock market capitalisation of around £8.5m.