Austral Pacific Updates Progress at Cheal-A3X

Austral Pacific Energy reports that the Cheal-A3X well in New Zealand, which commenced drilling over the Easter weekend, is presently preparing to drill ahead in 6 1/8" hole; having set 7" casing to 400m (1312 feet) depth. The well will now be steered northwards to intersect its target, some 500m north of the Cheal-A wellsite; and is expected to reach its TD of 1725m (5,700 feet) vertical depth during the next week. Cheal-A3X will test the Mt Messenger sands within the Cheal structure, and will also intersect the shallower Cheal oil and gas pay sands. This well will be important in identifying the mode of development of the Cheal Field.

The Honeysuckle-1 well in PEP38741 (APX 30%, operator) will follow Cheal- A3X, using the same rig. The Miromiro-1 well in PEP38765 (APX 27.5%) will be drilled subsequently; to be followed by a first well to be drilled in PEP38748 (APX 25%).

NGC advised they have received all planning consents for the Kahili separation plant, to be sited 4 km (2.5 miles) from the Kahili site, to which it will be linked by a pipeline carrying the raw gas stream from the Kahili- 1A/B well. A treated gas pipeline will link this plant to NGC's LTS pipeline, hence to NGC's Kapuni gas treatment plant for further processing. The Kahili joint venture parties (APX 45%, operator) will transport the associated condensates from the Kahili separation plant by road to the point of sale. Pipeline lay commenced in early March, and is now 60% complete, and earthworks have commenced at the Kahili plant site. The facilities are scheduled to be commissioned, and Kahili Field production to commence, at end June 2004.