Chrysaor has "observed" hydrocarbons at an exploration offshore Norway close to the UK border, according to a drilling partner, although no discovery has as yet been declared.

The private equity backed player has been drilling the 15/12-25 exploration well in production licence 973 in the North Sea, using the semi-submersible COSL Innovator.

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Licence partner Okea said on Wednesday that "hydrocarbons have been observed from logs and cuttings on entering the reservoir" at the well.

The Norwegian company added that "coring will now be initiated according to plan".

"The reservoir operations are at an early stage, and final results are not yet available."

Chrysaor has been contacted for comment.

Chrysaor started drilling the well in mid-January.

The licence is directly south of the Okea-operated Grevling and Storskrymten discoveries in the southern North Sea.

The Jerv well is the first in a two-well programme, which also includes the 15/12-26 probe, targeting the Ilder prospect.

If the Jerv well makes a find, a contingent sidetrack and well testing have been lined up.

Chrysaor operates PL973 on 50% and is joined by Okea on 30% and Petoro on 20%.