NORTH SEA-focused EnQuest has made clear it sees lots of growth potential in the area after buying assets off Scotland amid the slump caused by the coronavirus crisis.

A range of firms slashed spending in the North Sea in response to the resulting oil and gas market turmoil and EnQuest decided to decommission two mature fields last year.

However, the company has moved back into expansion mode in recent months.

Chief executive Amjad Bseisu noted yesterday that EnQuest had continued to pursue opportunities to enhance its portfolio by making two acquisitions in quick succession.

In February EnQuest agreed to buy a stake in the bumper Golden Eagle development north east of Aberdeen for up to $375m from Canada’s Suncor. Golden Eagle has been in production since 2014.

Last month EnQuest moved to breathe fresh life into plans to bring one of the biggest undeveloped finds in the North Sea.

READ MORE: Plans for billion barrel oil field development off Shetland set to be revived

It bought a controlling stake in the Bentley heavy oil find East of Shetland from Whalsay Energy in a deal worth up to around £23m.

Plans for Bentley have been in limbo since the company that had led work on them, Xcite Energy, went into liquidation in 2016.

Mr Bseisu said yesterday: “Golden Eagle will add immediate material production, reserves and cash flow to the Group, while Bentley offers further long-term potential development opportunities.”

EnQuest capitalised on the shake-up in the North Sea that gathered pace amid the downturn in the area that followed the sharp fall in oil prices from 2014 to 2016. This started after growth in supplies ran ahead of demand.

EnQuest bought a controlling interest in the Magnus field north of Shetland from BP in 2018, along with a stake in the Sullom Voe oil terminal in Shetland.

The company has been pleased with the performance of Magnus, although production from the field was below expectations in the first four months of this year. EnQuest cited an unplanned third-party outage and power related failures, which have been rectified, and said it remained focused on improving production through a well intervention programme.

READ MORE: North Sea oil firm hails peformance of flagship field

The company said it had benefited from strong production from the Kraken field East of Shetland. EnQuest brought Kraken into production with Cairn Energy in 2017.

EnQuest produced an average 46,158 barrels of oil equivalent daily (Boepd) in the four months to April 30, in line with its 2021 guidance range of 46,000 Boepd to 52,000 Boepd.

In March last year EnQuest announced that it had decided not to restart production from the Heather and Thistle fields, which had been shut in to allow the company to do remedial work.

It axed around 500 North Sea jobs last year to help cut costs.

EnQuest shares closed up three per cent, 0.5p, at 17.74p.