New Cheal Production Station Opens in New Zealand

Austral Pacific Energy has commissioned its Cheal oil and gas production facility in onshore Taranaki, New Zealand. New Zealand's Associate Energy Minister, Harry Duynhoven, who labeled it a springboard for further growth for the company, officially opened the production facility this week. The $NZ30 million facility is unique in New Zealand; it has been purpose-built to facilitate the extraction, production and transportation of Cheal oil, which is waxy and similar to that found in the onshore Ngatoro/Kaimiro and offshore Maari fields.

To date, Cheal has produced more than 212,000 barrels of oil at rates of up to 1000 barrels per day from the "A" and "B" sites. Daily production is currently around 400 barrels as Austral Pacific, as the field operator, follows the asset management plan and moves off cost-inefficient temporary equipment to allow the installation of permanent connections between the main 'A' site and the satellite 'B' site.

"We believe that preserving long term asset value should be an integral part of a timetabled asset management plan, and there is little point in producing oil at high costs, now that we have commissioned our own state of the art facility less than 2km away," said the Company's Chief Executive Officer and President Thompson Jewell.

"Once we have connected in the 'B' site over the coming weeks, we will bring our production back up to rates of between 850-1000 barrels per day. The next step is to drill and complete two more wells at the 'A' site which are planned to increase daily production by a further 50%."

With the production station now complete, there is also considerable scope to further increase daily production when the play trend is further tapped into over the coming year. "There is significant potential for further upside in this project and we are excited at the prospects for further growth," said Jewell.