Independent oil and gas explorer Trapoil is on the hunt for a partner to drill on the northern North Sea Inverewe prospect after Centrica opted out of the plans.
Centrica North Sea will pay Trapoil a £1.5million walkaway fee, under terms of a farm-in agreement signed last year.
However, Trapoil said its other partner on the field, JX Nippon Exploration and Production (UK), was understood to still be supportive of appraisal drilling on the field, as long as another partner could be found.
It also said discussions had already started with other potential farm-in partners.
The prospect, previously known as Kew and described as an undeveloped gas-condensate discovery, is one of a number of assets bought by Alternative Investment Market-listed Trapoil as part of its acquisition of Banchory-based Reach Oil and Gas for £30million in July last year.
Centrica and Nippon farmed-in to the block last year, paying a total of £2.75million to Trapoil in return for 60% and 20% of the field respectively.
They had also agreed to pay for the reprocessing of seismic data on the field and an appraisal well, expected in 2013 and estimated to cost £40million.
Centrica would have become operator on the licence. Trapoil now has 80% interest in the project, part of a promote licence which will expire if an appraisal well is not drilled.