Austral Pacific Updates Cheal Development

    Cheal - PMP 38156 - New Zealand

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, March 8 /CNW/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.
(TSX-V: APX; NZSX: APX; Amex:   AEN)
    Further to the Company's news release of January 31 disclosing initial
flow rates for the Cheal B3 well, the initial 10 day production testing of the
Cheal B3 well was completed on 5 February 2007.  During that time the well
produced at an average rate of 434 barrels of oil per day and 283 thousand
standard cubic feet of gas per day.  The well was choked back throughout the
test to maintain a flow rate of approximately 500 barrels of oil per day.
Further testing of the Cheal B3 well is expected to commence on 9th March.
    Testing of the Cheal B1 well commenced on 7 February 2007 and was jet
pumped for 11 days.  The well produced at an average of rate of 126 barrels of
oil per day and 262 thousand standard cubic feet of gas per day and 7 barrels
of water per day.  The well has been shut in for a build up test.
    Testing of the Cheal B2 well commenced on 19 February 2007 and was jet
pumped for 14 days.  The well produced at an average rate of 159 barrels of
oil per day and 96 thousand cubic feet of gas per day and 1 barrel of water
per day.
    Workovers of the Cheal A3 and Cheal A4 wells and a re-entry and
completion of the Cheal A2 well as a possible water injector are expected to
commence in mid April.  The tubing in the Cheal A3 and Cheal A4 wells will be
replaced with chrome and the jet pump will be set closer to the Mt Messenger
formation in order to improve the efficiency of the jet pumping operations.
    The Cheal A5 and Cheal A6 wells will be drilled from the Cheal A site
once construction of the production facilities has been completed.  The wells
are expected to spud in mid June and will be tied into the new facilities as
soon as they are completed.
    Construction of the Cheal production facilities continues at the Cheal A
site with work progressing well. The main pipe racks and the electrical
control house have now been installed along with one of the main coolers.
Detailed engineering design on the pipelines connecting the Cheal A and Cheal
B sites is nearing completion and the pipeline construction contract has been
let.  The gas sales agreement is nearly complete while negotiations to secure
arrangements for the long term transportation, storage and sale of crude oil
production are continuing.
    Rick Webber, President and CEO of Austral Pacific said, "We are pleased
with the results of the well testing, particularly so in regard to the B3
well.  The better weather we are now experiencing has led to an acceleration
of progress on the construction of the production facilities and we expect the
plant to be commissioned in May with full production of 1900 barrels per day
of oil available in July."
    Austral Pacific holds a 69.5% interest in the permit and is the operator.

    Petroleum Exploration Permit (PEP) 38524 - New Zealand
    On 8 March 2007, Austral Pacific was awarded PEP 38524 in the southern
offshore Taranaki Basin.  PEP 38524 is located immediately west and north of
D'Urville Island and covers an area of 2,187 square kilometres.  The first
stage of the work programme requires Austral Pacific to undertake seismic
reprocessing, acquire aeromagnetic data and complete either a 2D or 3D seismic
survey by 1 April 2008.
    Austral Pacific Energy Ltd holds a 100 percent interest in PEP 38524 and
is the operator.

    Web site:
    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 and for further information.

For further information:

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

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