Energy billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has joined the bidding for Royal Dutch Shell’s North Sea assets.
The owner of the Grangemouth chemicals company Ineos is keen to expand his interests in the offshore oil industry.
Shell is offloading a number of oil and gas projects, including its stake in the Buzzard field which was included in its acquisition of BG Group.
The divestment could raise as much as $2 billion.
Ineos recently received the first shipment of US shale gas which is vital for the survival of the Grangemouth plant.
The 27,500 cubic meters of ethane travelled from Pennsylvania, one of the hotspots for shale gas production.
Ineos says it has to import the gas as supplies of gas from the North Sea are rapidly dwindling and it is forbidden from drilling for the gas onshore in Scotland through the process known as fracking.