Taqa Bratani’s Darwin development was last night hailed as a massive boost to the sector — and proof that it still has “huge potential”.
The discovery, 80 miles off Shetland, is the first major one in the UK North Sea for about three years.
Westhill-based Taqa’s managing director, Leo Koot, revealed two out of three wells on the Darwin development encountered “significant” oil columns.
He said: “This discovery proves that the North Sea still has great potential.”
Darwin, which is estimated to contain 500million barrels, is close to the Taqa-operated Cormorant South, North Cormorant and Pelican fields.
The company acquired a 50% stake early last year and began drilling there in November.
It is still evaluating Darwin’s potential and work on one well was suspended pending further tests.
Mr Koot, who will soon be leaving Taqa Bratani to oversee its owner’s new energy business in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said: “We will be looking for innovative solutions for the Darwin development to both maximise value and fully utilise Taqa’s operated infrastructure.”
Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Bob Collier, said: “This is further proof that there is plenty of life left in the North Sea.”