Xcite cuts losses and looks ahead to ‘transformational’ year

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XCITE Energy, the Aberdeen-based explorer, yesterday announced it had narrowed its losses as it prepares for what it described as an important year ahead for the business.

The firm said its priorities were discussions with potential “farm-in” partners on the Bentley field in the North Sea, the re-submission of an updated development plan to the UK government and the start of the first phase of work on the field. Results for the nine months to 30 September showed losses fell to £800,000 from £1 million. The company also said it had booked £13.3m of revenues from test drilling on the Bentley field.

Sam Wahab, an analyst at Seymour Pierce, said he believed 2013 will represent a “significant period for the company”.

He said the group traded at a clear discount to the market “in advance of impending material news flow”.

Meanwhile, oil companies Petroceltic, which recently bought the Edinburgh-based Melrose Resources, and Aberdeen-based Dana Petroleum have won a licence to drill for oil in Egypt near the Gulf of Suez.

Dana and Petroceltic each have a 37.5 per cent holding in the licence with Beach Petroleum holding the remainder.

Brian O’Cathain, chief executive at Dublin-based Petroceltic, said: “We believe the combination of Petroceltic, Dana and Beach will bring an outstanding combination of technical and operational skills to the exploration of this under-explored region.”

• Enquest, the FTSE 250 oil and gas company, yesterday said average 2012 production would be around the middle of previous full-year guidance.

It also said that its co-founder and chief operating officer, Nigel Hares, was stepping down from the board.