How to excite

Xcite Energy, the Aberdeen-based explorer, reported a strong third-quarter performance yesterday and said it looked forward to the coming weeks with "high expectations".

Chief executive Richard Smith said it had been an "excellent few months on all fronts" for the company which recently said it had found more oil than expected at its Bentley field in the North Sea.

The third-quarter update showed the company had cash of 27.8 million at the end of September.

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Shares closed up 12.5p, or 7.44 per cent, at 180.5p. They have more than tripled since the summer.

Meanwhile Desire Petroleum yesterday said a sidetrack well on its Rachel prospect in the Falkland Islands had been unable to reach target depth and it would clean the hole out before trying again.

The company said last month that the original Rachel well did not find oil but that it was going to drill a sidetrack well as it had identified another prospective area nearby. Rockhopper, another Falkland Islands-focused explorer, owns a 7.5 per cent stake in the licence where the Rachel prospect is located. Shares in Desire fell 5p to 92p