Executive directors at Cairn Energy reaped the rewards of the oil and gas company's success in India last year, sharing in a £25m cash-and-shares boardroom bonanza.

The Edinburgh-based company's directors' pay bill more than doubled, with chief executive Sir Bill Gammell netting £5.5m in pay, benefits and shares.

Exploration director Mike Watts pocketed £4.3m.

Both outranked Sir Fred Goodwin, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, in the the nation's corporate pay league. Goodwin enjoyed a £4m reward package last year.

While Cairn is much smaller than Royal Bank, the size of its directors' pay bill reflects the potentially transformational effect of incentive plans, which link rewards to share-price movements.

The biggest boost to the wealth of Cairn executives resulted from the fact the company, in 2006, continued to build on significant increases in its share price relative to many peers.

These have followed a series of bumper finds in Rajasthan, India, which started with the Mangala discovery in January 2004.

The share price, which stood at 370p in January 2004, reached £25 last May. The increase propelled the com-pany into the FTSE-100, although Cairn has since fallen out of the blue-chip index after disagreements about who should pay to get oil from fields in Rajasthan state weighed on the company's shares.

In 2006, Gammell's basic pay and benefits increased 37% to £986,716, including a bonus equivalent to 100% of his £480,000 salary, plus further benefits worth £26,716. His short-term earnings were dwarfed, however, by a gain of £4,496,549 from the vesting of shares awarded under a long-term incentive plan (LTIP).

Watts also had reason to celebrate Cairn's share-price success in a year when his basic pay package climbed 31% to £581,844. This included a £350,000 salary and £210,000 bonus. Watts chalked up a gain of £3,724,869 on vesting of LTIP shares.

Group general manager Malcolm Thoms netted an LTIP gain of £3,359,503 to add to a £504,435 pay package. Jann Brown, who succeeded Kevin Hart as finance director, and Simon Thomson, legal and commercial director, joined Cairn's board last November.

They each enjoyed an LTIP share gain of nearly £1.7m, as did Phil Tracy, engineering director.

Brown and Thomson each pocketed a £200,000 bonus for their work on the flotation of its hugely successful Indian oil and gas business.

Hart, meanwhile, was paid £660,430 in his final year as a director before stepping down on November 17. He made a further £3,359,503 under LTIP.

Hart donated a £150,000 bonus he received in respect of the India flotation to a charitable cause.