ROYAL Dutch Shell is reported to be in talks to buy BP’s stake in the bumper Shearwater gas field in the North Sea amid the shake up in the area.

Reuters news agency said the two oil giants were discussing a deal that could be worth $250 million, citing industry sources.

Shell appears to have shifted its focus to growing its North Sea business after retrenching in the area in response to the crude price plunge from 2014.

In December the company approved plans to revamp the Shearwater platform 140 miles east of Aberdeen. This will allow it to handle output from the Arran field which Shell gave the green light to in October.

BP has focused investment in the West of Shetland area after selling off a raft of North Sea assets in recent years.

The company launched a programme to raise around $6bn from disposals after buying a $10.5bn US shale portfolio from BHP Last year.

Shell has a 28% stake in Shearwater with BP holding 27.5% and America’s ExxonMobil on 44.5%.

Shell and BP made no comment on the report.