Austral Pacific Arranges US$15m Financing

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Dec. 18 /CNW/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.
(TSX-V: APX; NZSX: APX; Amex:   AEN) has signed agreements with a number of
accredited investors to privately place 12,500,000 common (ordinary) shares
with attached warrants, sold as units at $1.20 per unit. Each unit consists of
one common share and one share purchase warrant. The warrants are convertible
one-for-one into the Company's common shares for 12 months after closing at an
exercise price of $2.25.
    Proceeds from the private placement will be used primarily in connection
with accelerating the Cheal field development with a goal of increasing the
field reserve base and increasing production through the newly commissioned
Cheal Production Station. The proceeds will also fund other appraisal and
development projects in Taranaki, New Zealand and PNG and will be used to both
progress the Cardiff field appraisal and to complete the cash portion of the
previously announced purchase of a further 19% interest in Cardiff.
    The placement is subject to stock exchange approvals expected in the
ordinary course. A portion of the securities were placed in the United States
to accredited investors in reliance on Rule 506 and are subject to resale
restrictions in the United States under Rule 144 for a one year period but can
be traded under Rule 904 through the TSX Venture Exchange after 4 months which
is the basic hold period applicable to all the securities.
    Management Comments
    Thom Jewell, Austral's CEO commented, "We were pleased to see a strong
level of interest in the company's current projects and its inventory of high
quality exploration, appraisal and development opportunities. This financing
brings us flexibility and allows us to accelerate our onward program to
enhance the value of our asset base. We have also significantly extended the
Company's base of shareholders as approximately 63% of the shares were placed
with investors newly introduced to Austral Pacific."
    Operations Update
    Austral Pacific (69.5%WI and Operator) has recently announced the
successful tie back of the Cheal B site wells into the production facility
raising the production for the field to over 750 bopd. The next step in the
phased Cheal development is to drill and connect the planned two additional
wells, targeting a normalized field production of between 1000 and 1500 bopd.
    Austral Pacific has now successfully re-completed the Cardiff-2A ST-1
discovery well with the Parker Rig 252. The rig is scheduled to be released
from the site at the end of this week. Detailed testing operations for this
well are part of the ongoing field appraisal and development activities that
are scheduled for 1st quarter, 2008.
    Cardiff lies 3 km (1.8 miles) from Cheal facilities in onshore Taranaki,
New Zealand. It is 44.9% owned by Austral, which is also field operator.
    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 totalling 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 financings and possible
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.

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., Web Site:

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