CAIRN Energy has won renown for making big finds in relatively under-explored areas of Asia and Africa but has shown recently there is good money to be made in the mature North Sea.

While the crude price is still trading at well below the levels reached before it plunged in 2014, Cairn expects to generate huge amounts of cash from the fields it brought into production off Scotland last year.

The Kraken and Catcher fields were completed for much less than expected, off Shetland and Aberdeen respectively. Cairn is set to generate big profits on the investments made in them although both got the go ahead before the market turned.

Cairn and partners have felt the benefit of the sharp fall in the cost of North Sea support services seen amid cuts in investment by other firms amid the resulting downturn.

But all the firms involved in Kraken and Catcher deserve credit for delivering what are huge projects on schedule amid challenging market conditions.

Cairn yesterday underlined its faith in the exploration potential of the UK North Sea.

Its experience will offer welcome encouragement for other players in the area following three tough years.

The company’s recent record also provides a reminder that firms can make progress overseas while devoting significant amounts of money and management attention to the North Sea.

Cairn has made giant finds off Senegal since 2014 and is looking forward to drilling on acreage acquired last year off Mexico.

The firm’s partner in Catcher, Premier Oil, recently made a huge find off Mexico. It hopes to approve the Tolmount development in the North Sea soon.