NEWS that a Canadian oil and gas heavyweight is ready to pay around £40 million to buy into a 100 million barrel field found by Faroe Petroleum and partners will cheer industry players in Scotland.

Suncor’s decision to buy a 17.5 per cent in the Fenja development off Norway from Aberdeen-based Faroe provides an endorsement of the quality of the find it has played a big part in developing into a commercial project since 2014.

Faroe’s success adds to the evidence that some Scottish firms have been able to make progress in spite of the challenges posed by the sharp fall in oil prices from that year.

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However, any pleasure felt by industry leaders may be tempered by sadness that the Suncor deal concerned a find that Faroe made off Norway rather than the UK.

Exploration drilling has fallen to record lows in UK waters amid the downturn in the industry that started in 2014 but Faroe has remained busy with the drill bit in Norwegian waters.

The company has made it clear that its decision to focus on Norway owes much to the fact the country provides generous tax breaks for exploration, which are not matched by the UK.

The two finds BP made off Scotland last month and the partial recovery in the crude price since late 2016 have encouraged hopes the UK North Sea is set on the road to recovery.

However, ministers should not take too much comfort from the fact a giant that could take the cost of a dry well in its stride felt ready to explore in two areas it knew well.

With the crude price coming under renewed pressure amid booming US output, they may face increasingly strident calls to follow Norway’s lead and provide much stronger incentives to encourage firms to drill in the UK North Sea.