Austral to Plug Oru-1 Well in New Zealand

Austral says that following evaluation of electric logs, the joint venture parties have decided to plug and abandon the Oru-1 well. The well was essentially in accord with pre-drill prognosis, but although there were some hydrocarbon shows during drilling there was no reservoir development at the target objective. Austral was operator of the well with a 52.9% stake.

Future Shallow Drilling

The rig will shortly be released from the Oru site to another operator. Following that well Austral will receive the rig back during December. The Heaphy-1 well-site (Austral 66.7%, operator) is presently being constructed. However, as an alternative, the rig may be taken to the Supplejack site to drill the Supplejack South-1 well (Austral 36.67%), with Heaphy -1 to be drilled when the rig again becomes available in Second Quarter 2006. Supplejack South-1 is a follow-on to the Supplejack-1 well, which flowed gas and condensate on test in August this year. It would be deviated in a southerly direction from the Supplejack site to a location identified on the 3D seismic as being likely to have a larger reservoir intersection than that encountered in Supplejack-1. In the event of success at Supplejack South-1, both wells can be linked in to a joint development which could either transport gas to an existing collector gas line two km (1.5 miles) to east, or be used for on-site electricity generation with electricity exported into the local grid, as is now in operation at the Cheal-A site.

Cheal Oil Field

The Cheal-A4 well is again in production from the main oil pay, and has resumed production at very similar rates (~300 barrels of oil per day) to those prior to commissioning of the on-site electricity generation facility. During the coming week, Cheal-1 will also be linked in to the generation facility, so that its gas can be used to supplement Cheal-A4 in order to achieve sustained maximum electricity output.