Oil and gas oil exploration and production business Egdon Resources said the Anglo-Dutch oil giant had advised them they intended to withdraw from two licences containing the Resolution and Endeavour gas discoveries.
The Resolution gas discovery was an early North Sea find made by Total in 1966.
For the past two years Shell had postponed a 3D seismic survey on the two gas fields, and the news will be welcomed by environmentalists who were concerned wildlife would be harmed in the process of exploring and exploiting the fields.
In an update Egdon, which owns 30 per cent of the licence, said: "During April 2022, Shell advised Egdon and the North Sea Transition Authority of its intention to withdraw from licences P1929 and P2304, containing the Resolution and Endeavour gas discoveries.
"Egdon is considering its options, including its ongoing commitment to the licences and will discuss these options with the NSTA."
In January 2020 Egdon announced a "farm-in" agreement whereby Shell acquired a 70 per cent working interest in the licences and was appointed the licence operator
Greenpeace UK, has said extracting oil or gas from the North Sea would do nothing for household bills in the UK as it mostly gets sold off on international markets to the highest bidder.