Heavy oil explorer Xcite Energy said today it had stuck a new deal with BP over sales of oil from its North Sea Bentley field.
The new agreement, replacing one from 2010, will see BP Oil International provide liquids to dilute the heavy Bentley oil in tankers offshore.
Aberdeen-based Xcite will only have to pay BP once oil shipped ashore and goes to the market.
This would be during the first phase of development of the field, which is about 100 miles east of Shetland and currently undergoing an extended well test, called the phase 1a development, using the Rowan Norway drilling rig.
Xcite said the deal would effectively reduce its working costs for the first phase of development, phase 1b, by about £12.9million-£19.3million.
BP is also to provide £3.2million as part of a finance agreement while Xcite continues talks with a consortium of banks over the first phase development of the field.
Rupert Cole, Xcite’s chief executive, said BP’s support would give the banks “a degree of confidence that the programme on the field was viable”.
He added he expected an announcement on funding for the first phase of development from the banks “shortly”.