Three directors at Xcite Energy have sold shares in the company worth more than £4.2million each.
The trio are chief executive Richard Smith, exploration and development director Stephen Kew and chief financial officer Rupert Cole.
Xcite, a British Virgin Islands-registered company with a base at Banchory, is working on the Bentley heavy-oil field, about 100 miles east of Shetland.
The firm’s share price has rocketed from 36.5p to as high as £4.25 as anticipation grows about the potential of Bentley.
The share sale, at £3.83 per share, was announced on Christmas Eve.
The three directors still retain holdings of more than 5million shares each in Xcite.
Xcite announced last Tuesday that a flow test had been completed successfully.
It said flow rates showed both the commerciality of the Bentley field and the reservoir properties being above the upper end of modelled expectations.
Bentley was previously thought to have up to 220million barrels of recoverable reserves and there is speculation that this figure could now be upped in the weeks ahead.
Xcite said last month it had agreed a deal with British American Offshore to hire the Rowan Norway, a deep water jack-up unit, designed and built for simultaneous drilling and production.
The rig is expected to be available to begin production from Bentley in the fourth quarter of next year.
The initial commitment is for 240 days and will allow drilling of up to six wells on the Bentley field as part of the anticipated three-year first-stage production.
Mark McCue, a divisional director at investment management and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, said last week that Xcite’s success highlighted the still vibrant opportunities for investors in the North Sea, with the likes of EnCore Oil and Nautical Petroleum also doing extremely well.
Andrew Reid, Aberdeen-based managing director of energy consultancy Douglas-Westwood, added: “Bentley is one of the largest finds in the UK continental shelf in recent years, far exceeding the average discovery size of 26million barrels since 2000.”