Xcite Energy in black during first half of year

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OIL driller Xcite Energy swung into the black during the first half of the year after selling technical data on its giant Bentley field in the North Sea.

The Aberdeen-based firm yesterday posted an £8.3 million profit for the six months to 30 June, compared with a loss of £300,000 in the first half of 2012.

Xcite was launched in 2002 to develop the Bentley heavy oil field, which was discovered in 1977. The company joined the stock market in 2007.

In June, Xcite appointed engineering firm Amec to support development of the field.

“Discussions with potential farm-out partners and lending banks are ongoing,” Xcite added yesterday in a short trading
update to the stock market.

Last June, the firm signed a long-awaited $155m banking deal with a syndicate of five banks to fund the development of Bentley. Royal Bank of Scotland acted as the lead lender, with support from Britannic Strategies, which is part of BP, General Electric Energy Financial Services, Nedbank and Societe Generale.

The company already has a deal in place with oil major BP to market the oil from the field. BP also gave further backing to Bentley by agreeing to provide up to $40m (£26m) in working capital in the development stages and $5m in financing.

Xcite hailed Bentley as “one of the largest proven, undeveloped oil fields in the UK North Sea” after a revised reserves assessment report concluded that there are 250 million barrels of oil that could be recovered from the prospect, more than the 116 million barrels that had been previously estimated.