NORTH Sea-focused Jersey Oil & Gas has underlines its appetite for acquisitions in the area as it hopes to make another big find in the Moray Firth.

Led by chief executive Andrew Benitz, Jersey shot to prominence in October when it made the Verbier find with Statoil. Verbier is estimated to contain 130 million barrels.

Chairman Marcus Stanton said yesterday: “Besides being of major significance to JOG, the Verbier discovery was also a positive endorsement of North Sea exploration activity generally.”

The company said the results of recent activity suggest there “could be a material amount of further resources” within the licence concerned.

Aim-listed Jersey said it plans to build a production portfolio via both organic development and acquisitions. It noted the cyclical recovery in the oil price and the current opportune buying market in the North Sea.

Jersey said it had reached very advanced stages of negotiation for some potential deals last year, without completing any.

Mr Stanton thinks a reform that takes effect in November, allowing the tax histories of assets to transfer with ownership, should encourage deal activity.

Jersey owns the rump of the assets amassed by Trap Oil, which bought Banchory- based Reach Oil & Gas for £30m in 2011. Trap suffered hefty losses after the crude price plunged in 2014.

Jersey made £727,000 profit in 2017 after partners reimbursed drilling costs associated with Verbier.