DONG Energy has highlighted the appeal of investing in renewable energy projects such as wind farms off the UK as it prepares to exit the North Sea oil and gas business.

The Danish company agreed in May to sell a portfolio that includes a stake in the giant Laggan Tormore development West of Shetland to Ineos for up to around £1 billion to focus on renewables.

The company said yesterday it would consider investing in more wind farms after growing underlying second quarter profits 75 per cent to 4.4bn krone (£0.37bn) from DK2.5bn in the first three months.

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DONG, which has operations in the UK, Germany and Denmark, said the growth was driven by the ramp up of new offshore wind farms and high wind energy content.

Chief executive Henrik Paulson noted the firm expects to have increasing amounts of excess cash to invest as it completes the wind farms in its existing development pipeline.

It has recorded a fall in the cost of building wind farms, in terms of megawatts of capacity.

DONG started production from the Burbo Bank Extension project off Liverpool in May. The sale of the oil and gas business is expected to complete in the third quarter.