PLANS to develop the giant Cambo field off Shetland are set to be revived after an Israeli-owned firm acquired the firm leading work on the controversial project.

Ithaca Energy has agreed to buy Siccar Point Energy in a deal worth up to around $1.5 billion (£1.125bn).

The company said the acquisition will position it as one of the leading oil and gas operators in the UK North Sea.

It noted that Siccar Point’s portfolio includes stakes in the Cambo ans Rosebank fields West of Shetland, which it described as two of the largest undeveloped and most strategically important discoveries in the UK North Sea.

Ithaca chief executive Alan Bruce said: "The development of the Cambo and Rosebank fields is a huge opportunity to not only help secure the UK’s energy future for at least another quarter of a century, but also to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the process."

Siccar Point has been working on plans to develop Cambo with Shell.

After facing huge opposition from environmentalists Shell put the plans on hold in December. The company said then that the economic case for investment in the project was not strong enough at that time and noted the potential for delays.

READ MORE: Shell boss says energy giant is eyeing North Sea gas developments after Cambo U-turn

Shell and Siccar Point won an extension to the licences covering Cambo last week. Shell said then the two year extension to the licenses would allow time to evaluate all potential future options for the project.

The acquisition is the latest in a series made by Aberdeen-based Ithaca under the ownership of Israel’s Delek Group.

Gilad Myerson, Executive Chairman of Ithaca Energy, said: “Ithaca Energy has been on a rapid growth journey over the past three years – demonstrating our unwavering commitment to the North Sea.

“In that time, we have acquired producing and development assets from Chevron, Mitsui, Marubeni, Sumitomo (to be completed) and now Siccar Point.”

READ MORE: Israeli-owned North Sea firm posts $1bn profit after surge in oil and gas prices

Mr Myerson added: “The Siccar Point team under the leadership of Jonathan Roger created an outstanding portfolio of assets.”

Private equity-backed Siccar Point has interests in big fields that are in production including Schiehallion and Mariner off Shetland. The company also has a stake in the giant undeveloped Rosebank find West of Shetland.

Mr Roger said Ithaca is extremely well placed, given its material production base, to unlock the “significant growth opportunities” in Siccar Point’s portfolio.