Investors Xcited by discovery of more fuel at North Sea field

City A.M. Reporter
OIL company Xcite Energy said yesterday it would seek a partner to help fund the development of the Bentley field in the North Sea after an independent report showed it contained more oil than previously thought.

Shares in the Aim-listed company shot up over eight per cent following the news yesterday to close at 118p.

Xcite said that it would start evaluating suitable partners and also try to increase its borrowing facilities to secure funding for a project to get oil pumping from the field.

Proved plus probable reserves – an estimate of recoverable oil and gas – at Bentley came in at 250m barrels of oil, making the field a significant sized asset in terms of the remaining oil reserves in the British parts of the North Sea.

Last February, Xcite said a report estimated the Bentley field held 116m barrels of oil.

The Bentley field contains heavy oil, a name given to oil which does not flow easily, making it harder and more costly to extract and refine.

Heavy oil will likely become a bigger part of the North Sea production mix as oil output from ageing conventional fields declines, and as a high oil price and new technology makes the resource more attractive to extract.

Xcite added that it planned to submit an updated field development plan to the government in the coming months, a key step before it can proceed with the project.