Austral Completes Tie-In of 3 Wells to Cheal-B

Austral Pacific Energy Ltd. announced Tuesday that the tie-in of the B1, B2 and B3 wells into the Cheal Production Station has been completed on budget and ahead of schedule. The wells, pipeline and production facility are now mechanically complete; all regulatory approvals have been achieved, and the facility has been handed over for commissioning ready to produce oil and gas.

The project has had an excellent safety record with no lost time incidents or near misses.

The wells were shut-in as part of the planned, phased installation of the permanent connections to the production facility. They will be brought back on-line in a managed manner and are planned to increase total Cheal oil production to approximately 700 barrels of oil per day by the end of 2007.

"We will now focus on bringing all of the wells up to their planned production rates, and executing the next phase of the field development plan," Austral's CEO and President Thompson Jewell said.

Cheal is a producing oil and gas field south of Stratford in onshore Taranaki, New Zealand. It is 69.5% owned by Austral, which is also field operator. The field comprises four active wells and contains 2.6 MMbbl of independently certified oil reserves and about 1.8 bcf of associated gas.