Ithaca Energy has signed an agreement with Centrica North Sea Gas to double its interest in the Carna discovery, located in the Southern Gas Basin of the UK area of the North Sea.

The company will now be the operator of the project and increase its working interest in the discovery from 16% to 32%.

The financial terms of the deal between the parties has not been disclosed.

The Carna discovery spans blocks 43/21b and 43/22c and lies adjacent to the Garrow and Kilmar gas fields.

The discovery was first made in early 2009, when a gas column in excess of 1,490ft and net pay of 127ft was encountered in well 43/21b-5Z.

It tested gas at a gross stabilised rate of 8.8 million cubic feet a day, on a 48/64th choke from a vertical well penetrating the Carboniferous.

Ithaca Energy has agreed to a work programme to accelerate development studies of the Carna discovery. It also intends to submit a field development plan for approval to the Department of Energy and Climate Change before the end of year.

Following the transaction, Dyas UK will hold a 24% interest in the discovery, Centrica will own a 40% stake and EWE Energie will own 4%.