Austral Pacific Announces Cheal Oil Production Station Complete

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Sept. 21 /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. is pleased to announce that the Cheal
Production Station is now online and exporting hydrocarbons to market.  Plans
are now underway for the formal commissioning of the Production Station on
Monday 8 October.  The opening ceremony will be presided over by New Zealand's
Associate Minister for Energy, Harry Duynhoven.
    Commenting on the completion of the Production Station, Austral CEO and
President Thompson Jewell said, "We are very pleased to have reached this
point; the construction of the production station has been a long, and
sometimes trying, process and we wanted to make sure that we had everything in
place before talking to our shareholders at our recent shareholder briefing in
Wellington.  We were able to announce then that we were looking forward to
showing guests around the Production Station and helping us formally
commission the plant in early October.  We are all very pleased to be able to
produce hydrocarbons using our own equipment, and we can be justly proud of
the achievements of our dedicated team.  Now we can focus on using Cheal as a
platform for other developments."
    Since the pre-commissioning test phase began on August 10, 2007, the
"state of the art" oil and gas production facility has been fully certified,
and has processed some 14,000 barrels of oil and 5.9 million scf (standard
cubic feet) of gas from the "A" site wells.  Production rates have been ramped
up and down according to planned well-testing protocols.  The field (both A
and B wells) is currently reduced to around 600 barrels of oil and 580,000 scf
(standard cubic feet) of gas per day while optimization work is undertaken on
one of the "A" site wells.  The field has produced some 212,000 barrels of oil
and 185 million scf of gas in total since test production began.
    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, with two more in an advanced
planning phase, 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.
    In other news, on September 14, 2007, in accordance with the company's
incentive remuneration policy, 705,000 share options were granted to all
current staff and directors.  The options were granted in recognition of and
to incentivise staff efforts in successfully moving the company into a new era
as an oil and gas exploration and production company.  The exercise price of
these options is a five day volume weighted average of US$1.20. A further
60,000 options were granted to Mr. Bernie Zinkhofer upon his appointment as a
director, the exercise price of which is the closing price on the date of
grant, being $1.23.  All options granted are exercisable for 5 years, and vest
in three equal tranches over 18 or 24 months.
    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 and for further information.

    Austral Pacific Energy (NZ) Limited
    Web site:
    Phone: Thom Jewell, CEO +64 (4) 495 0880

For further information:

For further information: Thom Jewell, CEO of Austral Pacific Energy
Ltd.,  +64 (4) 495 0880, Web Site:

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