LONDON -- The shares of Xcite Energy (LSE: XEL ) look set to finish 2012 exactly where they started -- at 89 pence -- to make them one of this year's less impressive performers within the London market.
Xcite, an oil and gas company operating in the North Sea, has suffered mixed market responses to various updates during the last twelve months.
During February, the shares rallied to as high as 165 pence as Xcite updated investors with a revised resources audit of its Bentley field. The figures revealed proved and probable reserves of 116 million stock tank barrels of oil, with a so-called NPV10 value of $1.5 billion.
The numbers prompted Richard Smith, Xcite Energy's then-CEO, to comment:
The upgrade to 116 MMstb of 2P reserves for the Core Area on the Bentley Field is independent confirmation that Bentley is a major North Sea asset. Furthermore, the Bentley Field is expected to contain significant upside potential from future appraisal of the non-Core Area prospects, as well as the application of enhanced oil recovery techniques.
By March, the price had dropped to 120 pence as the company issued extra shares to raise more than 20 million pounds and published annual results that showed no sales, minimal earnings, and net cash of 64 million pounds.
By July, the shares had dropped further to hit a 2012 low of 67.5 pence. However, a short update confirming a pre-production flow test was "progressing well" seemed to kickstart a second-half price rally.
Various management changes during August, including the appointment of Rupert Cole as chief executive, did not upset the share-price progress, while further news from the Bentley field encouraged buyers during September.
In fact, the price climbed to 130 pence as Xcite revealed how pre-production well tests had exceeded its expectations. The company said approximately 147,000 barrels of crude oil was safely extracted "without any environmental incidents."
However, subsequent nine-month results, which showed revenues of 13 million pounds and net cash of 16 million pounds, failed to excite Xcite investors. Indeed, not even a seven-minute video of new chief executive Cole reviewing 2012 and previewing 2013 could prevent the share from sliding back to 89 pence during December.
Whether this year's resource upgrade, roller-coaster share price, management video -- and current 260 million pound market cap -- now combine to make Xcite a "buy" or a "sell" remains your decision.
Indeed, you may wish to consult this free Motley Fool report, which explains the factors you need to consider -- and the risks you might encounter -- when evaluating smaller oil and gas explorers.
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