Australian engineering firm WorleyParsons is buying its way into the UK North Sea petroleum market.

WorleyParsons has announced plans to purchase AFW UK Oil & Gas for around $303 million.

AFW provides engineering and construction services across the UK continental shelf.

The Australian company will issue new shares to pay for the acquisition, with around 24.8 million new shares to be issued at $13 - an 8.7 per cent discount to WorleyParsons' closing price before the announcement.

“We are excited to enter the UK North Sea market as a leading player based in Aberdeen,” WorleyParsons chief executive Andrew Wood said.

The local engineering firms says the deal will help accelerate its plans to build “a world class global maintenance, modifications and operations (MMO) capability”.

AFW has five offices in the UK and two in the Middle East.

WorleyParsons expects the deal to be complete by the end of October.

The company has entered a trading halt in the meantime.

The AFW assets are being offered for sale by British oil and gas company Amec Foster Wheeler, due to “competition concerns” in the UK market.

Amec is itself being taken over by multinational energy company, the John Wood Group, for $3.7 billion, but faces concerns from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The regulator has told Amec that if it sells most of its upstream offshore oil and gas assets, it “might be acceptable” as a pre-condition for the Amec-John Wood merger to proceed.