Austral Pacific Awarded Three New Exploration Permits

Austral Pacific Energy Ltd. (formerly Indo-Pacific Energy Ltd.) has consolidated and extended its onshore Taranaki portfolio following the award of three new permits in the region.

The three new permits in New Zealand are:
PEP 38768. This permit covers 48,000 acres (195km2 ) in northeast Taranaki adjacent to the McKee oil field. Targets include fractured reservoirs in the eastern thrust complex and Miocene sandstones. Participants via New Zealand subsidiaries are Austral 50%, and New Zealand Oil and Gas Ltd 50% (operator).

PEP 38766. This permit is south of Inglewood and provides an extension to Austral's existing block PEP 38748. Participants are Austral 25%, Tap (New Zealand) Pty Limited 50% (operator) and Magellan Petroleum (NZ) Limited 25%.

PEP 38765. This permit lies between Austral's existing PEP 38741 and PEP 38748 permits. All three areas have been covered by last year's Kaimata 3D seismic survey, and a number of targets have been mapped and defined for drilling. Participants are Austral 27.5%, Tap (New Zealand) Pty Limited 50% (operator), Magellan Petroleum (NZ) Limited 12.5% and Tag Oil Ltd. 10%.

Austral Pacific CEO Dr Dave Bennett said: "These new blocks consolidate Austral's position in onshore Taranaki. A well will be drilled in PEP 38765 in the near future, as part of Austral's 2004 drilling program."