CAIRN Energy has won strong backing from investors at a general meeting it effectively held behind closed doors because of the coronavirus.

The Edinburgh-based oil and gas firm decided that only the minimum of two shareholders required for a quorum should be allowed to attend its annual general meeting in person on the grounds of public safety.

Big hitters to lead North Sea oil and gas industry recovery effort

The decision meant shareholders could not grill chief executive Simon Thomson about the prospects for the oil and gas firm amid the plunge in oil and gas prices since March, which was triggered by the coronavirus.

In January Cairn and partners approved a $4 billion plan to develop a big find off Senegal.

However, almost 100 per cent of votes cast by shareholders in connection with the AGM approved the company’s latest report and accounts.

Investors can signal unhappiness with a company by voting against approval of its report and accounts.

Have big oil firms really got the message on climate change?

Around 9% of votes cast opposed the approval of Cairn’s directors remuneration report while 7% rejected the relevant pay policy.

More than 99% of votes cast approved the re-election to the board of Mr Thomson and Cairn’s chief financial officer James Smith.

Shareholders were able to appoint a proxy to vote on their behalves or submit votes electronically.

Around 450 million votes approved Cairn’s report and accounts with only about 6,500 opposed.

It is understood there were no objections to Cairn’s decision not to allow more shareholders to attend the AGM in person, which the company had noted was in line with government guidance.