Norwegian oil firm OKEA has signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Equinor to acquire the latter’s 40% operated working interest (WI) in two licences offshore Norway.

The acquisition of interests in production licences PL195 and PL195 B also includes the Aurora discovery and is effective from 1 January this year.

Located west of the Gjøa field in the North Sea, Aurora is a small gas discovery.

The Norwegian oil firm estimates that the recoverable volumes are between 12-28 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe).

Other partners in the licences include Wintershall DEA (25%) and Petoro (35%).

As a result of this transaction, OKEA aims to become the operator for the two licenses and pursue the development of Aurora as a tie-in to Neptune Energy-operated Gjøa field without the need for any further appraisal drilling.

The transaction is, however, subject to approval from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

OKEA ASA CEO Erik Haugane said: “By this transaction, we are diversifying our portfolio as well as strengthening our position in the Gjøa area. A development of Aurora fits right into the core of OKEA’s strategy with low-cost field development of smaller discoveries.”

In March, OKEA confirmed that its Yme redevelopment project is scheduled to deliver first oil in the second half of this year. The project is located in the Egersund Basin, 100km off the coast in the Norwegian part of the North Sea.

In a separate development, French energy major Total is reportedly seeking to sell its 25.7% interest in the Shearwater Elgin Area Line natural gas pipeline in the British North Sea.

The sale is expected to generate $200m for Total.