Total has signed an agreement with SSE E&P UK to sell 20% of its interests in four gas fields and surrounding exploration acreage for for £565m ($876m), approximately 125km north-west of the Shetland Islands, known as the Greater Laggan Area.

The four gas fields Laggan, Tormore, Edradour and Glenlivet located in the West of Shetland area are new and will have low operating costs, the company said.

Total Exploration & Production president Arnaud Breuillac said: "The sale of these minority interests is aligned with Total’s portfolio management strategy and target of divesting $5bn of assets in 2015.

"The sale of these minority interests is aligned with Total’s portfolio management strategy and target of divesting $5bn of assets in 2015."

"It allows us to capitalise fully on this new deep offshore development, while retaining a majority interest and operatorship."

Total said that the company is opening up a new frontier area for gas production in the UK with the upcoming start-up of Laggan, followed by Tormore, Edradour as well as Glenlivet in the coming years.

Following completion of the transaction, which is subject to the customary approvals, Total will hold a 60% operated interest in all the four fields.

Others partners include Dong E&P (UK) (20%) and SSE E&P UK (20%).

SSE said that upon completion of the acquisition, it will hold reserves and resources of more than six billion therms or more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent over the life of all of the fields.

The company plans to finance the transaction by a future bond issue and by proceeds from its ongoing programme to sell assets.

Total will also divest 20% of its interest in the Shetland Gas Plant, as well as interests in several exploration licences that are located in the West of Shetland area, including the Tobermory discovery.