RICHARD Smith, chief executive of Aberdeen-based driller Xcite Energy, yesterday announced his retirement after unveiling a positive drilling update from its Bentley field in the North Sea.
Smith, one of the entrepreneurs who founded Xcite to develop the Bentley field, will be replaced by chief financial officer Rupert Cole, another founder.
Stephen Kew, currently exploration and development director, is promoted to the new post of chief operating officer amid a raft of board and management changes.
Chairman Roger Ramshaw said: “We thank Richard for his important contribution.
“With the good progress being made in the current well operations, together with this strengthened management team now in place … the company remains firmly on track to deliver its strategic objectives.”
News of the management changes came as Xcite reported that the drilling tests in its Bentley field are “progressing well”.
Sam Wahab, an analyst at Seymour Pierce, said: “This is clearly encouraging news, suggesting that aquifer support is strong and consistent, which is a good indicator for longer-term productivity of the reservoir.”
Wahab said the drilling update also boded well for the company’s financial position, after it signed a $155 million (£100m) banking deal in June.
Five lenders have agreed to a five-year loan. Xcite has a deal with BP to sell oil from the field.
Wahab said: “A condition of the $155m reserve-backed loan facility was the company needed to achieve a cumulative volume of 45,000 barrels of oil during the flow test period to help ensure that the data gathering will be as effective as possible. This announcement goes some way to ensuring this important millstone is met. We expect the share price to strengthen.”
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