PETROFAC, which has around 4200 staff in Scotland, has highlighted the prospect of continued strong activity levels in the North Sea in a bullish trading update.

The oil services giant said it expects to deliver net profit growth in 2012 of at least 15%, helped by a strong performance by the division that helps firms develop new fields and maintain existing assets.

Petrofac noted the Offshore Projects & Operations division has benefited from operators' efforts to maximise output in the North Sea as they look to cash in on strong demand for oil and gas.

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The company won a three-year contract to provide engineering and construction services in the North Sea for Apache, a US independent that has been investing heavily in the area.

Petrofac indicated oil and gas firms will continue investing in developing new facilities in the North Sea and maximising production from existing facilities.

The company said: "We continue to see high levels of bidding activity on both operations support contracts and offshore capital projects in the UK/Europe."

Last week, Aberdeen-based Wood Group said it expected to deliver good growth this year helped by a strong performance in the North Sea and overseas markets like the US and Australia.

Petrofac said bidding activity is also strong in the Middle East and Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Asia Pacific regions.

The company said the integrated energy services division, which develops assets with operators, has made good progress.

The division recently agreed a strategic alliance agreement with Edinburgh-based Bowleven to develop the Etinde Permit in Cameroon.