Austral Pacific Appoints New Director

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Dec. 23 /CNW/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.
(TSX-V: APX; NZSX: APX; AMEX:   AEN) announces the appointment of Peter
Hazledine of Wellington, New Zealand, as a new director of the Company,
effective from 1 January 2008.
    Mr. Hazledine's addition will strengthen the Board's experience in the
petroleum production sector. The Company's Chairman, Peter Hill, commented "We
are delighted to welcome such an experienced and knowledgeable industry
participant to our Board. We look forward to the benefit Austral will obtain
from his wide range of business, reservoir and production engineering
    Peter Hazledine is a New Zealander with 35 years experience in the
international E&P industry. He spent 30 years with the Royal/Dutch Shell Group
in Africa, the Middle East, New Zealand, Europe, and South America. He worked
initially as a petrophysicist and production technologist, moving into
operations engineering and management (including 10 years with Shell's New
Zealand operating company, Shell Todd Oil Services, on the Maui and other
Taranaki fields). He left Shell in 2004, to take up a senior management
position with Vector Gas (formerly NGC), the principal gas distributor in the
New Zealand market. He is leaving this role to pursue a more diverse portfolio
of opportunities. Mr. Hazledine has a B.SC (Hons) in mineral technology from
Otago University, in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is a member of the Institute of
Directors in New Zealand.
    In line with its standard directors remuneration policy, the Company will
grant Mr. Hazledine 60,000 incentive options upon appointment, exercisable for
5 years, at market closing price, one-third vesting on each of 12, 18 and 24
months after issue.
    About Austral Pacific
    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:
     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 and 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 Limited, Web Site:

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