Energy giant Shell has sold its stake in the second largest undeveloped oil and gas discovery in the UK North Sea.

The company has offloaded its 30% stake in the controversial Cambo oilfield west of Scotland to Ithaca Energy, subject to regulatory approval.

The deal means North Sea-focused Ithaca, which brought into Cambo with its $1.5 billion acquisition of Siccar Point Energy in July last year, now owns 100% of the discovery.

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Andy Bruce, chief executive of Ithaca Energy, said: "We are pleased to conclude the marketing process with Shell and to take full ownership of the Cambo development.

"Our primary focus continues to be the delivery of our buy, build and boost strategy, including the future development of Cambo, subject to fiscal conditions. We believe that Cambo has an important role to play in providing energy security and economic benefit to the UK, while reducing overall emissions intensity."

Ithaca’s commitment to Cambo will encourage those keen to see the UK boost domestic supplies of oil and gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which caused energy prices to spiral last year. But it will dismay environmental campaigners who have voiced their opposition to the field’s development.

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stirred controversy when she declared she was opposed to bringing the Cambo field into production when Glasgow hosted the COP26 conference on climate change in November 2021, albeit power for granting licences for North Sea exploration is ultimately reserved to Westminster.

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Campaigners made clear their opposition to Cambo and the development of further  fossil fuel extraction from the North Sea by staging demonstrations held outside the conference venue in Glasgow.

Shell, which had previously been working on Cambo with Siccar Point, subsequently withdrew from the project, declaring that the economics no longer stacked up. The oil giant then put its 30% stake in the discovery up for sale in May this year.