JAPANESE conglomerate Itochu has put stakes in two big oil and gas developments off Shetland on sale as part of a portfolio of North Sea assets that could attract bids of around $250 million (£185m), it has been reported.

Reuters news agency said it had seen a sale brochure inviting bids for the portfolio, which includes Itochu’s near 25 per cent stakes in the Western Isles cluster and Hudson field east of Shetland.

The portfolio also includes small holdings in the Brent pipeline system and the Sullom Voe terminal on Shetland.

Reuters said the sale could fetch $250m citing banking sources without naming any. Scotiabank is thought to be advising Itochu.

Some established North Sea players have reduced their exposure to the area while investing elsewhere.

Itochu entered the North Sea in the 1990s. It is buying a 20% stake in the West Qurna 1 oilfield in Iraq from Shell.

A range of independents have bought North Sea assets in recent months, some with private equity backing.

Valuations fell amid the crude price plunge that started in 2014.

The sale does not include Itochu’s 12% stake in the Verbier find, which it made with Jersey Oil & Gas and the former Statoil last year.

Korean-owned Dana Petroleum operates Western Isles and Hudson.