Indo-Pacific Energy Changes Name to Austral Pacific Energy

Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., formerly Indo-Pacific Energy Ltd., announces its new name, Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., and trading symbol, APX.

At the Special Meeting of Shareholders on December 31, 2003 in Vancouver, the new name and trading symbol for the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) (part of the Toronto Stock Exchange or TSX group) and the Wellington based New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSX) was adopted.

Shareholders also ratified updated corporate by-laws for the Company to enable electronic voting of proxies, use of electronic or paperless shares, removal of Chairman's casting vote and removal of the obligation of the Chief Executive Officer to also be a director.

The Company's shares will begin trading on the TSXV on January 2nd and on the NZSX on January 5th under the common symbol APX. They remain trading on the OTCBB.

The name change is necessary to remove confusion with a similarly named TSXV listed company.

Chairman David Newman said, "We are delighted to see the New Year in, with a well funded Company, trading on prestigious stock exchanges in both hemispheres, which will enhance liquidity for shareholders and raise the profile of our company. We expect an eventful year with an active drilling program."

The shares and warrants to be issued under the New Zealand public offer will be allotted on January 5, 2004 and quoted on NZSX from that date (symbol APX). These shares are not transferable through the TSXV or to Canadians for 4 months, nor through the OTCBB or to US persons for 40 days after allotment.

The newly issued warrants will not be quoted on the TSXV and are subject to exercise and resale restrictions in Canada and the United States similar to the shares. The expiry date of the warrants (now 5 January 2005) has been extended from the originally proposed date of 30 November 2004, to reflect the actual date of their issue.

The Company will also close the Share Exchange Agreements it executed in November 2003, by issuing approximately 1.1 million shares and half-warrants to those New Zealand investors who invested in the company's New Zealand subsidiary in June 2003. These shares and warrants will also be allotted on 5 January 2004. They are not transferable or tradeable for 4 months after allotment. The shares may be traded on the NZSX and TSXV after that hold period has expired. Unlike the warrants issued in the New Zealand public offer, the warrants attached to these shares will not be listed, but may be transferred subject to compliance with certain conditions after the hold period has expired. These warrants also expire on January 5, 2005.