THE shake up in the North Sea is set to continue with Hungarian oil giant MOL reported to be planning to sell its assets off the UK four years after entering the area.

Reuters news agency said MOL had appointed Bank of America to run a sale process covering a portfolio valued in the low hundreds of millions of dollars, citing unnamed banking sources.

MOL’s portfolio includes a 20 per cent stake in the giant Catcher field which Premier Oil and Cairn Energy expect to bring into production soon.

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It is thought to have lost interest in the UK North Sea as the sharp fall in the oil price since 2014 has put margins under pressure.

MOL bought a basket of UK North Sea assets from Germany’s Wintershall in a £280m deal in 2013, when activity was booming in the area. Many firms were keen to increase North Sea production to capitalise on a long period of high oil prices. This came to an end after growth in supplies ran well ahead of demand.

A range of big oil firms have sold North Sea assets since 2014, to focus investment on areas they reckon provide better growth prospects.

Private equity investors have noted opportunities to buy assets at what they regard as attractive prices. Shell sold a portfolio accounting for half its UK production to private equity backed Chrysaor in January for up to $3.8bn.

A MOL spokesperson said it would not comment on the report.