An oil company has announced plans to explore opportunities in the North Sea east of Shetland.
Cairn Energy is staking a 30 per cent claim in the Aragon prospect, approximately half way between the isles and Norway.
It has agreed deals to acquire stakes in the asset from Aberdeen-based Bridge Energy and MPX North Sea.
Drilling is expected to begin to test the potential by the first quarter of 2015.
The decision follows attempts from Cairn to increase its presence in the North Sea.
The company is reported to have spent $1 billion drilling unsuccessfully off Greenland, although it has made more successful ventures in India.
Cairn already owns Agora Oil and Gas and Nautical Petroleum, both of which are said to be heavily focused on North Sea production.
JX Nippon, of Japan, also has a share, having agreed to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the Aragon licence.
Bridge Energy’s chief executive, Tom Reynolds, said: “We are pleased both Cairn and JX Nippon have joined us in this licence, which demonstrates technical support for the potential within this acreage.
“This farm-down continues our long-term strategy of re-allocating exploration capital over a wider number of opportunities, with the 13.5 per cent remaining interest which Bridge retains in the licence.”