Austral Pacific Cheal-B Facilities Completed Ahead of Schedule



    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Dec. 10 /CNW/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.
(TSX-V: APX; NZSX: APX; Amex:   AEN) - Tag Oil Ltd (TSX-V: TAO; OTC Bulletin
Board: TAGOF)
    Austral Pacific Energy Ltd. announced today 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 end 2007.
    Commenting on this achievement, the Company's Chief Executive Officer and
President Thompson Jewell said, "We are extremely pleased to be able to
deliver this project ahead of schedule and be able to preserve our excellent
safety record.  This project again reflects on the planning, management and
delivery skills of the team involved, both at Austral and our project
contractors.  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."
    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 (2P) and around 1.8 bcf of associated
gas.  Austral has put in place all relevant oil, gas and LPG sales contracts
for the Cheal output.
    Austral Pacific is a listed independent oil and gas exploration and
production company registered in Canada with corporate headquarters in
Wellington, New Zealand. The Company has an interest in thirteen exploration
and production permits totaling over 2.6 million acres in onshore New Zealand
and Papua New Guinea. The Company's primary assets are the Cheal Field, Kahili
Field and Cardiff Field located onshore in the highly prolific Taranaki Basin
on the North Island of New Zealand. In Papua New Guinea, the Company has an
interest in four onshore blocks.

    
     Austral Pacific Energy (NZ) Limited
     Web site: http://www.austral-pacific.com
     Email: ir@austral-pacific.com
     Phone: Thom Jewell, CEO +64 (4) 495 0880
            or Brad Holmes: +1 (713) 304 6062
    
    None of the Exchanges upon which Austral Pacific's securities trade have
approved or disapproved the contents hereof. This release includes certain
statements that may be deemed to be "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of applicable legislation. Other than statements of historical fact,
all statements in this release addressing future production, reserve
potential, exploration and development activities and other contingencies are
forward-looking statements. Although management believes the expectations
expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable
assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance, and
actual results or developments may differ materially from those in the
forward-looking statements, due to factors such as market prices, exploration
and development successes, continued availability of capital and financing,
and general economic, market, political or business conditions. Please see our
public filings at http://www.sedar.com and
http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm for further information.




For further information:

For further information: Thom Jewell, CEO, +64 (4) 495 0880, or Brad 
Holmes, +1-713-304-6062, both of Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., 
ir@austral-pacific.com Web Site: http://www.austral-pacific.com

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AUSTRAL PACIFIC ENERGY LTD.

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