CAIRN Energy chief executive Simon Thomson has seen the total value of his pay package increase by around 40 per cent following a year in which the oil and gas firm made good progress in Africa and the North Sea.

The Edinburgh-based company’s annual report shows Mr Thomson earned total remuneration of £2.99 million in 2017 compared with £2.1m in the preceding year. The value of long term incentive payments vesting during the year increased to £1.8m from £0.96m after performance conditions were met. Mr Thomson’s bonus increased to £0.54m from £0.44m. His salary rose by around 1% to £0.56m.

Cairn completed appraisal drilling off Senegal during the year which underlined the potential of a big find it made under Mr Thomson. The company started production from the Kraken heavy oil field off Shetland in June and the Catcher development east of Aberdeen in December, with partners.

The report shows that incentive awards worth £308,000 vested in favour of former exploration director Mike Watts during the year. Awards worth £284,000 vested in favour of former finance director Jann Brown. Both played a big part in the success Cairn achieved in India, where the firm made a series of big finds under the leadership of its founder Sir Bill Gammell.