UK-based Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR) has signed an agreement to acquire up to a 25% participating interest in three licences located in the Central North Sea and Moray Firth from Verus Petroleum.

These licences are operated by the Parkmead Group and two of them are drill ready.

Parkmead’s preliminary estimate for all three licences is about 400 million barrels of potentially recoverable oil in aggregate.

CLNR initially plans to acquire a 5% non-operated interest in UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) licences P1944 (Block 14/20e) and P2156 (Block 15/11 & 15/16f) in the Outer Moray Firth.

"These proposed acquisitions complement our existing five licences in the Southern North Sea."

The licences contain the Fynn and Penny exploration prospects located below the shallow Tertiary sands containing heavy oil.

Under the agreement, the company has the option to increase its equity position in licences P1944 and P2156 by 20% to 25% within nine months after executing the agreement to acquire the initial 5% interest.

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CLNR will also acquire a 25% interest in licence P2082 (Blocks 30/12c, 13c, 17e & 18c) in the Central North Sea during the same period.

CLNR expects that a well on each of the Skerryvore and Fynn prospects will be drilled within the next 12 to 24 months.

The proposed acquisition is subject to the parties entering into a binding contract and other customary conditions and governmental approval.

CLNR chairman and chief executive Algy Cluff said: "These proposed acquisitions complement our existing five licences in the Southern North Sea, which demonstrated significant gas potential and represent the first steps to creating a diversified portfolio of exploration and appraisal assets.

"Our objective now is to complete the acquisition process and begin working with our new partners to fully appraise the significant production potential of these exciting assets."