Xcite seeks partner for Bentley field as reserves rise

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil company Xcite Energy <XELL.L> said 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.

Xcite said on Monday 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 250 million barrels of oil, making the field a significant sized asset in terms of Britain's remaining oil reserves.

Last February, Xcite said a report estimated the Bentley field held 116 million 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.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Rhys Jones)