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UPDATE 1-Nautical sells Mariner stake for 87.5 mln stg

* Proceeds earmarked to fund development of Kraken, Catcher

* Statoil buys 20.7 pct stake, leaves Nautical with 6 pct (Adds detail)

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - British oil explorer Nautical Petroleum NPE.L said it had raised 87.5 million pounds ($137 million) to help pay for the development of two significant North Sea oil finds by selling off a portion of another licence.

Nautical said on Thursday that it had signed an agreement to sell a 20.7 percent stake in a block which contains the Mariner discovery to the majority owner of the licence, Norway's Statoil STL.OL, leaving Nautical with a 6 percent interest.

The proceeds of the sale will be used by Nautical to help pay for the development of Kraken and Catcher, two oil discoveries Nautical made earlier in 2010 alongside its partners. [ID:nLDE68K0Y6] [ID:nLDE6640AA]

“The partial sale gives Nautical continued exposure to the potential upside of the Mariner development,” said Chief Executive Steve Jenkins.

“We have a number of exciting opportunities in our portfolio including Catcher and Kraken and we are now well resourced to see them through to development.”

Shares in Nautical, which have risen by 550 percent since the beginning of the year, on the back of the Kraken and Catcher discoveries closed at 312 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at 270 million pounds.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Rhys Jones)

$1=.6386 Pound

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