NORTH Sea-focused EnQuest has highlighted the potential to find more oil in the area of a giant field that BP lost interest in as it reaps the rewards for making a bold move off Shetland.

Months after buying a 100 per cent stake in the Magnus field from BP EnQuest said the asset provided “significant opportunity for long-term, low-cost reserves and production increases”.

The company said it has identified a number of economic drillable targets near Magnus, which is the most northerly in UK waters.

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The prospects could help the firm add as much as 50 million barrels to its reserves. It may be possible to develop finds in the area relatively quickly.

The production from existing wells on Magnus helped EnQuest achieve a 64 per cent increase in output in the Northern North Sea in the first ten months of the year.

The progress made on Magnus was detailed in an update that will boost hopes there is still lots to go for in well-worked parts of the North Sea. Magnus has been in production since 1984.

EnQuest bucked the trend that saw many firms slash investment in the area in response to the sharp fall in the oil price from 2014.

The company‘s experience could also encourage other firms to invest in new developments.

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EnQuest boss Amjad Bseisu said the Kraken heavy oil field which it developed with Cairn Energy East of Shetland has been performing strongly this year.

Kraken was left undeveloped for years because other firms were deterred by the challenges involved in producing and refining heavy oil.

Technological advances helped transform the economics of the field, which came onstream in 2017.

Cairn slashed its valuation of Kraken by $166 million in March after the firms experienced initial production challenges.

However, EnQuest left its valuation unchanged. Mr Bseisu noted yesterday: “Production efficiency at Kraken has been over 90% in the last few months.”

The partners have now produced a total 24 million barrels from Kraken. Production from the field averaged around 34,300 barrels oil per day in the first ten months.

EnQuest noted the potential to make more finds in the Kraken area.

The performance of the field could help stoke interest in the relatively under-explored deeps off Shetland.

The success of the pioneering Hurricane Energy West of Shetland has generated much excitement.

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Scottish gas owner Centrica bought in to Hurricane’s acreage through its Spirit Energy exploration and production arm.

Centrica noted yesterday that Spirit and Hurricane recently made what appeared to be a commercial find with the Lincoln Crestal well West of Shetland.

It said Spirit is on track to produce full year total volumes in line with 2018.

Centrica did not give any update regarding the planned sale of its majority stake in Spirit, which it decided in July to offload. It plans to focus on supplying energy to customers.

Private equity-backed firms such as Chrysaor Energy and Neptune Energy have shown their appetite for big acquisitions. Chemicals giant Ineos has been expanding West of Shetland.

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EnQuest completed the acquisition of Magnus along with a managing interest in the Sullom Voe processing terminal on Shetland from BP last year, following a $185m deal clinched in 2017.

BP has sold off interests in mature North Sea assets to free up funds to invest in what it sees as better long-term bets. It invested heavily in developing the Clair Ridge field West of Shetland.

EnQuest is making changes at Sullom Voe that have resulted in jobs being lost at the terminal.

It said these were essential to ensure the terminal remains competitive for existing and future business.

The changes have impacted 60 jobs at EnQuest without involving compulsory redundancies.

EnQuest cut net debt to $1.56bn at October 31, from $1.64bn at June 30.

Total production averaged 68,501 barrels oil equivalent daily in the first ten months, against 54,268 boed last time.