Rapidly-growing North Sea producer Parkmead is to strengthen its grip on the Athena oil field after striking a deal to treble its stake in the find.

The company, launched by Dana Petroleum founder Tom Cross two years ago, will take a 20% interest in the Moray Firth licence which includes the Athena field.

The group already had a 10% stake in the field following its takeover of Lochard Energy earlier this year, and the $11.2million deal with EWE Vertrieb will give the firm a significant foothold in the field, which produces around 9,000 barrels of oil per day at peak operation.

“This is Parkmead’s most important deal to date,” said Cross.

“Increasing our oil production three-fold from the Athena field will deliver major growth in the company’s revenue and cash flow.”

Parkmead will pay around $8million in cash for the stake, along with a further $3.2million in newly issued shares for the company.

Ithaca Energy operates the field, which sits in around 135m of water in the outer Moray Firth. Production has been reduced to 7500bod due to pump problems, but is due to return to operation next year.

The deal comes after Parkmead picked up a further five North Sea blocks in the most recent licencing round, taking its presence on the UK continental Shelf to 30 blocks across eight licences.

The company, which operates Greater Perth and has stakes in the Platypus and Pharos gas finds, saw its value rise to $250million (£153million) for the first time earlier this month.