Norwegian energy major Equinor has bought 85% of a UK central North Sea licence from little-known UK independent oil firm Soliton Resources.
Licence P2390 contains the Isolde prospect, which is described as a “shallow, low risk and potentially sizeable exploration target”.
London-headquartered Soliton, launched in 2017, said Isolde had historically been overlooked, partially as a result of “seismic imaging limitations” on legacy 3D data.
Equinor will assume operatorship to undertake an initial work programme to improve the quality of existing 3D seismic data.
Equinor can then opt to drill an exploration well on the Isolde prospect.
Equinor will refund licence costs incurred to date by Soliton, pay for the option to drill, and will carry all future costs associated with Soliton’s remaining 15% interest.
Regulatory approvals for the transaction have already been received.
Soliton managing director Graham Goffey said: “I am delighted to announce that Equinor are joining Soliton to progress the exploration of the Isolde prospect.
“The high level of industry interest in what proved to be a particularly competitive farmout process is a clear indication of the merits of the Isolde prospect and I am very pleased that Soliton is to be joined by an operator of Equinor’s scale, capability and ambition.
“Soliton’s application for the Isolde prospect in the UK’s 30th licensing round was facilitated by the Oil and Gas Authority’s flexible ‘Innovate’ licence structure and its data access initiatives, which have lowered the barriers to entry for newly established companies such as Soliton.
“Continued North Sea exploration can help lessen the UK’s dependence on imported oil and gas through the energy transition and I am happy that Soliton can be part of this process.”
Mr Goffey is listed as a person with significant control of Soliton, alongside Rebecca Lunn.