BP has been given government approval to drill the North Uist oil well in deep water to the north-west of Shetland.
The field is about 78 miles off Eshaness, in Block 213/25c, which is between Total’s Laggan-Tormore gas field and the UK-Faroe Median Line. The water depth is around 1,290 metres.
UK energy minister Charles Hendry is permitting BP to drill after the Department of Energy and Climate Change scrutinised the application, including its environmental impact and emergency response plans.
The Health and Safety Executive had no objections to the well design and drilling plan.
Mr Hendry said: “This consent is very positive news for West of Shetland following the announcement in the budget aimed at increasing investment in this new frontier for oil and gas exploration.