Austral Pacific Energy Ltd. Announces Memorandum of Understanding ('MOU')



    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, March 22 /CNW/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.
(TSX-V: APX; NZSX: APX; Amex:   AEN) is pleased to announce that a non binding
MOU with Alcan South Pacific has been concluded with its wholly owned
subsidiary Austral Pacific Energy (PNG) Limited.
    The MOU sets out the activity to further investigate the supply of
approximately 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas per annum over 20 years to
the Gove Refinery in the Northern Territory of Australia. This work programme
is expected to be completed by mid 2008 and aims to provide sufficient
information for the parties to proceed to a binding agreement to supply
natural gas to Gove.
    Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., through its wholly owned subsidiary Austral
Pacific Energy (PNG) Limited, is a joint venture participant in two
exploration permits, PPL 235 and PPL 261, in the Western Province of Papua New
Guinea.
    PPL 235 has two wells, Douglas-1 and Langia-1, which are both gas
discoveries with potential condensate. In Langia-1, the discovery consists of
a net 7 metres of gas pay in a high quality reservoir. Douglas-1 consists of a
net 25 metres of gas pay in two sections with excellent porosity and
permeability characteristics. PPL 261 is contiguous with PPL 235.
    The PPL 235 joint venture also owns the Coral Sea 1 drilling rig, which
has been maintained on site in anticipation of further drilling to build the
companies' oil and gas resources.
    Austral CEO Rick Webber said, "We are delighted that our enthusiasm for
our licenses in Papua New Guinea has been vindicated by the range of potential
commercial opportunities that has emerged from the pre-feasibility study
conducted in late 2006. Execution of the MOU with Alcan South Pacific
establishes a framework for progressing monetization of the Douglas gas
discovery. We now look forward to accelerating our drilling programme with the
immediate tasks of flow testing Douglas-1 and drilling appraisal wells on the
Douglas gas field and drilling our nearby Puk Puk structure, the drilling here
having been substantially de-risked by the success of Douglas. It is
anticipated that the proposed drilling programme should be completed by mid
2008."
    Austral owns 35% of PPL 235 and 50% of PPL 261.

    
    Web site:         www.austral-pacific.com
    Email:            ir@austral-pacific.com
    Phone:            Rick Webber, CEO +64 (4) 495 0880
    

    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.

    See our public filings at www.sedar.com  and
www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm for further information.





For further information:

For further information: Rick Webber, CEO of Austral Pacific Energy
Ltd.,  +64 (4) 495 0880, ir@austral-pacific.com Web Site:
http://www.austral-pacific.com/

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AUSTRAL PACIFIC ENERGY LTD.

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