Energy Secretary Ed Davey and former energy minister Charles Hendry have hailed Chevron’s decision to award 75% of contracts for the development of the Alder gas field as a “huge boost of confidence” to British business.

Earlier this week the US oil giant confirmed it would go ahead with the North Sea field, which is due to produce first gas in 2016.

The $2.4billion project (£1.5billion) has already seen major contracts handed to the likes of OneSubsea and Technip over recent months in preparation for the final investment decision.

During energy questions in the House of Commons today, Mr Hendry asked: “Will you welcome the decision of Chevron this week to allocate at least 75% of the work for the Alder field development in the North Sea to companies in the UK supply chain?

“Will you congratulate your officials in the Department for Energy and Climate Change office in Aberdeen for the way they have tirelessly worked to achieve this outcome and this huge boost of confidence in the UK’s supply chain worth many tens of millions of pounds?”

Mr Davey replied: “I’m very grateful to you for raising this issue.

“I certainly will congratulate my officials in the Aberdeen office, who do tremendous work both directly for the oil and gas industry and to help the supply chain.”

He said his industrial strategy, in partnership with Business Secretary Vince Cable which was published last year, had “made a big difference in saying to the supply chain we want you to contract with British fabricators and other British companies in the oil and gas chain”.

Mr Davey also paid tribute to Mr Hendry, who sits as vice chairman on a number of related all-party parliamentary groups, and who had been “able to communicate better with the supply chain and make it clear to international companies that they should consider British companies as part of their projects”.

The field, which sits around 100 miles off the coast of Scotland, was originally found in 1975 – but the difficult high pressure, high temperature nature of the discovery meant proper development is only now possible through advances in technology.

Alder will produce around 110million cubic feet of gas and 14,000 barrels of condensate per day once at its peak, with output being tied back to the nearby Britannia platform.