A North Sea-focused firm that has won backing from US billionaire Warren Buffett has passed an important milestone in its attempt to bring a group of undeveloped finds into production.

IOG said two platforms that will be used to handle production from the fields concerned have been successfully installed.

The work was completed on schedule.

IOG, which used to be called Independent Oil & Gas, still expects to start production from the fields concerned in the third quarter.

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The first phase of the project under development will involve bringing three gas finds made between 1966 and 2000 into production.

IOG expects to be rewarded for showing belief in the commercial potential of finds that others did not think were worth investing in.

The company turned heads in July 2019 when it won a stunning vote of confidence from Mr Buffett.

The CalEnergy Resources business owned by Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway paid £40m for a 50 per cent stake in IOG’s project. It also agreed to cover up to £125m of IOG’s costs.

Oil and gas firms have faced growing opposition since then from environmentalists amid concerns about the impact of fossil fuel use.

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However. IOG says gas can play an important role in the transition to a cleaner energy system as a low-carbon fuel.

The company’s chief executive Andrew Hockey played up the environmental credentials of its plan. This will involve starting production from six Southern North Sea fields in all in two phases.

He said the unmanned Blythe and Southwark production platforms will use limited amounts of power and are an important part of IOG’s low-carbon operating philosophy.

The company plans to produce so-called blue hydrogen from its North Sea gas output. This will involve separating carbon from the gas and storing it offshore.

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IOG last month agreed to provide backing for experts at Heriot-Watt to try to identify North Sea fields that would be suitable carbon sinks.