Beach Accelerates Expansion Program Offshore Australia

Beach Petroleum has accelerated its expansion into offshore oil and gas exploration – acquiring acreage near Portland in Victoria.

The acquisition – through farm-in – is Beach Petroleum's second move in as many months into southern Australian waters.

The Company announced today that it had entered into an agreement with Essential Petroleum Resources Limited to acquire a 17.5% interest in Otway Basin exploration tenement VIC/P46, offshore western Victoria.

VIC/P46, located adjacent to the Portland coastline, covers an area of approximately 1,800 square kilometres in water depths ranging from 50-200 metres.

Last month, Beach Petroleum expanded its net 2P reserves by 5.8 million barrels of oil with a 25% farm-in to Anzon Australia Pty Ltd's 100% owned Basker, Manta and Gummy ("BMG") oil and gas fields in the Gippsland Basin, including exposure to a net contingent gas condensate resource of 4.8 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Beach – which acquired a direct 9% interest in Anzon – is also returning to offshore West Australian exploration in coming months, drilling the Corowa East-1 well next February in WA-264-P in the Carnarvon Basin, in joint venture with Santos Limited and Kufpec Australia Pty Ltd.

"Our exploration program in VIC/P46 will be primarily directed towards the discovery of gas in the Late Cretaceous Waare Formation, a play proven to be successful elsewhere in the Otway Basin," Beach Petroleum's Managing Director, Mr Reg Nelson, said today.

"This success has included our own onshore gas production from producing fields in the Port Campbell region - and for other companies, commercial discoveries offshore at Casino, Thylacine and Geographe," Mr Nelson said.

"Success off Portland could be readily commercialised through a short connector to the SEAGAS pipeline or industrial users at Portland," he said.

"Previous 2D seismic in VIC/P46 has identified a number of large gas prospects located relatively close to shore in modest water depths.

"3D seismic, which has played a key role in all recent discoveries in the Otway Basin, is likely to be acquired over the most prospective features in the second quarter of 2005.

"This will be followed by the drilling of at least one exploration well early in 2006."

Three of the lead prospects in the acreage, Fermat, Bernoulli and Kepler, are only slightly west of the Callister-1 well currently being drilled by Santos.

Following assignment of the interest to Beach, participants in the VIC/P46 Joint Venture will be Essential Petroleum as operator with 50%; Mittwell Energy with 32.5%; and Beach Petroleum with the remaining 17.5%.