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North Sea exploration pioneer wins fresh vote of confidence from Shell

By Mark Williamson: Group Business Correspondent

ROYAL Dutch Shell has underlined its faith in the exploration potential of the North Sea by buying in to a licence a relative minnow has been working on.

The oil and gas giant has exercised an option to acquire a stake in acreage containing a prospect it is thought could hold 290 billion cubic feet gas from Cluff Natural Resources.

Shell will pay $600,000 for the 50 per cent stake and has agreed to fund 75 per cent of the cost of drilling an exploration well, up to a maximum of $25 million.

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