CAIRN Energy may have won renown for making big finds in Asia and West Africa but the company has made it increasingly clear it sees lots to go for in the North Sea.

In the Edinburgh-based firm’s annual results presentation chief executive Simon Thomson highlighted the benefits it is set to enjoy after investing heavily in the area amid the sharp fall in oil prices since 2014.

Cairn expects to get 25,000 barrels oil per day later this year from the Kraken and Catcher fields which it brought onstream recently off Scotland with partners.

Directors think Cairn will make good profits on the output even with Brent crude trading at around $65 per barrel compared with $100/bbl plus when Catcher and Kraken were approved before the downturn started.

The fall in the cost of support services in recent years following cuts in spending by other firms has helped.

The strong flow of cash from the fields is projected to continue for years, putting Cairn in a good position to fund work on developing the SNE find it made off Senegal.

The success could encourage other firms to adopt the kind of strategy followed by Cairn and Premier Oil, which involves using the profits from North Sea developments to fund potentially high impact exploration further afield.

But sector watchers in the UK will take comfort from the fact Cairn won’t limit exploration activity to relatively under-explored areas overseas, such as Senegal.

Mr Thomson made clear Cairn sees potential to make big finds in UK waters. It plans to drill a well off Scotland soon.