A North Sea oil executive has become caught up in controversy over deleted personal tweets in which he described the Paris Climate Agreement as “insane” and said "there is no climate emergency".

Steve Brown, chief executive of Orcadian Energy, also appeared to suggest on Twitter that renowned broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough was an “idiot” for his position on climate change, according to a report by Channel 4 News in the UK.

In one of the tweets saved by Channel 4 News before his account was deleted, Brown said: “There is no climate emergency, fake emergencies are used to override debate and democracy.”

He also tweeted about claims that the main cause of climate change is solar activity and CO2 emissions are likely “benign”, the news programme said.

Channel 4 News said Brown's tweets showed he not only had doubts about the science behind climate change but also about the scale of the problem.

Climate campaigner Tessa Khan told Channel 4 News that she was dismayed by the comments. “They should raise alarm bells for all of us because the government has entrusted the contribution that this industry will make to helping us get to our net zero targets and these are the sorts of people that it has entrusted that to,” she said.

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Orcadian, which listed on London's junior AIM market earlier this month, is seeking to develop the Pilot heavy oil field.

Pilot contains proven and probable reserves of 78.8 million barrels of viscous heavy crude.

Orcadian was previously called Pharis Energy.

It was founded as the Steam Oil Production Company in 2014 and, as that name suggested, was focused on attempting to deploy technology using super-heated water to recover the Pilot field's viscous oil.

However, it has since changed tack to what it reckons will be a more profitable development plan using polymer injection technology.

In a response to Channel 4 News, Orcadian said: "What individuals believe is irrelevant, what really matters is the significant work Orcadian Energy has done and is doing to make its proposed development scheme as clean as possible.

“The Oil & Gas Authority is a tough and serious regulator and they have set Orcadian extremely demanding targets to reduce emissions.

"Orcadian has been very innovative in its response; emissions per barrel will be less than one-sixth of the North Sea average; and the Pilot field’s emissions will be in the lowest 5% of global oil production.”