PETROFAC, which employs around 4200 people in Scotland, grew net profits 3% last year, helped by increased activity in the North Sea.

The oil services company increased net profit to $650m (£390 million) in 2013 from $632m the preceding year, after making progress on some key projects in UK waters during the year.

The company noted it did more work on a big contract to help Total develop a gas plant on Shetland, to handle the output from the Laggan Tormore development.

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Petrofac said it made substantial progress on the upgrade and modification of the FPF1 floating production unit for the Ithaca-operated Greater Stella Area development, expected to come on-stream at the end of 2014.

The company's success in the North Sea helped the offshore projects and operations division, which works on existing assets, grow net profits by 13% annually, to $69m in 2013.

Approximately two-thirds of the division's $1.7 billion turnover was generated in the UK.

What Petrofac described as good growth at the division helped compensate for a fall in profits in the Engineering, Construction, Operations and Maintenance arm, to $447m from $479m. The company was affected by the re-phasing of work on big projects in Abu Dhabi and Algeria.

Petrofac said yesterday: "Overall, in line with our previous guidance, we expect to deliver flat to modest growth in net profit in 2014."

The firm remains confident of returning to strong earnings growth in 2015. The value of the order backlog increased to $15bn at December 31, from $11.8bn at the previous year-end.