THE North Sea minnow that won backing from US billionaire Warren Buffett recently has passed a milestone in its attempt to bring a group of finds that had been left idle into production.

Independent Oil & Gas said it has received €100 million (£88m) bond funding which international investors had agreed to provide for the development.

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Chief executive Andrew Hockey had said earlier this month that the bond funding would unlock a further £165m support for the development plan that the CalEnergy business owned by Mr Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had agreed to provide.

“We are pleased to have completed the settlement process for our EUR100 million bond raise, which with the proceeds to come from our farm-out to CalEnergy … will ensure we are fully funded for our Core Project,” he said yesterday.

The core project covers three finds made by bigger players, including one dating from 1966.

Independent clinched the funding deal with CalEnergy in July in a success that cemented a remarkable recovery in its fortunes and showed global players see potential in the UK North Sea.

The company hit funding obstacles during the downturn in the North Sea oil and gas industry triggered by the sharp fall in the crude price from 2014.

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It faced potential complications amid the fallout from the collapse of the London Capital & Finance (LCF) investment business, which raised £236 million from small investors.

Independent had used debt funding provided by London Oil & Gas, which went into administration in March, and which had been funded by LCF.

The farm-out with CalEnergy and bond funding deal reflect international investor interest in the North Sea.

Independent belongs to a band of relatively small players that are helping stoke activity in the North Sea through work on assets that were not considered exciting enough by bigger fish.

It is targeting first gas from the core project fields in the Southern North Sea in 2020.

The company received a fillip earlier this month when an appraisal well on another find in the area, Harvey, struck gas. Mr Hockey said the company looked forward to sharing detailed results of the well in due course.

Read more: Bumper Shetland field fuels move into profit for Hurricane

Separately Shetland-focused Hurricane Energy appears to have been impacted by the controversy about the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry amid reports that a Cambridge university college has sold its holdings in the firm.

The Varsity newspaper said the college had told members it had decided to exit all fossil fuel investments including Hurricane Energy and planned to implement a sustainability strategy.