Hurricane EnergyHurricane Energy saw its shares rise almost 9% today after it announced an oil discovery west of the Shetland Islands which is one of the biggest finds in British waters this century.

Surveys of its Halifax well have identified a one kilometre-deep oil column linked to its existing Lancaster find.

It is thought to contain more than a billion barrels of oil which could help stimulate a revival for the oil industry.

The company today described it as “a very significant hydrocarbon column of at least 1,156 metres”.

Dr Robert Trice, Hurricane’s CEO, said: “This is a highly significant moment for Hurricane and I am delighted that the Halifax Well results support the Company’s view that its substantial Lancaster discovery has been extended to include the Halifax licence.”

It was, he said, “the largest undeveloped discovery on the UK Continental Shelf”, adding “the discovery of a 1km hydrocarbon column at Halifax validates the efforts the company undertook to acquire the licence and drill, test and log the Halifax Well through the winter months.

“Given the positive well results, the Halifax Well has been suspended to provide the company the option to return to undertake further testing as well as provide the option to deepen the well and thereby establish a definitive oil water contact.”

He thanked the company’s partner Transocean “whose pragmatic approach to commercial and contractual negotiations have been a breath of fresh air in today’s tough industry environment, and have facilitated Hurricane’s successful campaign during a time when UK exploration and appraisal drilling has been at a low. We have created a great partnership and I look forward to successfully continuing this relationship.”

He added: “These are exciting times for Hurricane.”

At 4pm Hurricane Energy’s shares were trading up 8.8% (4.75p) at 59p.