JX Nippon Exploration and Production UK (JXNEPUK) has sold an 8.9% working interest in the Greater Mariner Area to Siccar Point Energy.

The Mariner field, which forms the centerpiece of the Greater Mariner Area, is located in the UK sector of the North Sea on the East Shetland platform.

As a result of the deal, JXNEPUK’s working interest in the Greater Mariner Area now stands at 20%.

“We believe that this is a great time to build a business in the North Sea for a well capitalised and experienced team.”

The field development plan for Mariner, discovered in 1981, was approved by the UK government in 2013.

The development work is ongoing, and the first oil from the field is expected in 2018.

JXNEPUK’s sale is part of the revision of the company’s upstream portfolio, as well as the optimisation of the investment level that has been designed to improve its financial performance.

Statoil UK is the operator and majority owner of the Mariner oil field, and Siccar Point Energy will join existing partners, JXNEPUK and Dyas Mariner.

Siccar Point Energy CEO Jonathan Roger said: “We believe that this is a great time to build a business in the North Sea for a well capitalised and experienced team.

“Mariner’s long reserves life and its resilience to near-term low oil prices position it well in the current environment and we continue to look for similar high-quality assets to add to our asset portfolio.”

Siccar Point Energy is a joint venture owned by Blue Water Energy and funds managed by Blackstone Energy Partners.

Blue Water Energy partner Graeme Sword said: “We are delighted that we can participate in high-quality fields, with top-quality partners in the UK North Sea.

“We believe this is a validation that there are still attractive investments to be made in the UK North Sea and we will continue to support Siccar Point as they build their footprint with further acquisitions.”