XCITE Energy has signed a deal to secure a floating storage and offloading facility in a move that takes it a step closer to exploiting the Bentley field east of Shetland.

Xcite, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands but has an operations office in Aberdeen, has described Bentley as one of the largest undeveloped fields in the North Sea.

The Alternative Investment Market-listed company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Teekay Shipping Norway for the supply of a bridge-linked floating storage and offloading facility for the life of the Bentley development.

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Rupert Cole, chief executive of Xcite, said: "We are very pleased to be joined by Teekay as a partner in the development group, following on from their important role in the successful Bentley extended well test.

"Building on this relationship as we progress Bentley towards production we believe will deliver the Sevan FSO as a vital component of the Bentley field development plan."

Xcite and Teekay intend to work together on an exclusive basis during the project, which will extend from the initial engineering work to fabrication and on to production and maintenance.

Xcite said the use of the facility would have several benefits, including the ability to locate utilities on either the platform or the facility itself.

Xcite has been in discussions with oil services companies about financing deals as well as oil producers about conventional farm-out arrangements.

It said last month that it hoped to select its preferred partners this year and work on clarifying the funding requirement for the Bentley development.