Austral Pacific Updates Operational & Corporate Matters

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Jan. 31 /CNW/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.
(TSX-V: APX; NZSX: APX; Amex:   AEN)

    Cheal -- PMP 38156 -- New Zealand
    The Company is pleased to report that three of the four Cheal development
wells drilled from the northern Cheal B location during November/December 2006
have been successfully completed and perforated. Production testing of the
first of the three wells, the Cheal B3 well, commenced late on 26th January
2007 and over the first four days the well produced a total of 1972 barrels of
38 API oil and 1.24 million standard cubic feet of gas with no water at an
average rate of 493 barrels of oil per day and 310 thousand standard cubic
feet of gas per day. The well is currently flowing naturally without
artificial lift and is choked back to maintain a flow rate of approximately
500 barrels of oil per day. Testing of the other two Cheal B site wells will
commence in February and further announcements will be made at that time.
    The fourth well, B4, which was drilled as an exploration well to test
sands to the north west of the Cheal field's bounding fault and successfully
confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons beyond the currently defined limits of
the field, will be side-tracked and is expected to be completed as a
development well at a later date following a further review and interpretation
of seismic data in that area.
    Construction of the Cheal production facilities continues at the Cheal A
site and progress remains on schedule. All three 2000 barrel tanks and both
the 400 barrel tanks have been installed. Front-end engineering design on the
pipelines connecting the A and B sites has been completed and reviewed and
detailed design is now underway. Arrangements to secure the long term sale of
both oil and gas are under negotiation.
    Austral Pacific holds a 69.5% interest in the permit and is the operator.

    Douglas -- PPL 235 -- Papua New Guinea
    The 2D seismic data acquired in 2006 has now been processed and
interpreted. The data has identified and confirmed drilling locations on the
northern sector of the Douglas structure. It has also identified the nearby
Puk Puk prospect as being a valid exploration drilling target. Further
specialized seismic processing will be conducted to determine if the data can
be used to predict the presence of hydrocarbons at reservoir level elsewhere
on Douglas and in the Puk Puk prospect, as was the case at the Douglas-1 well.
    The pre-feasibility study commissioned in 2006 to examine and rank
options for the development of the Douglas resource was received and reviewed
by the PPL 235 joint venture participants in December. The study examines a
range of technologies for commercializing the Douglas gas discovery and
identifies several potentially economically viable options. Two of these
options, one of which involves a major longer term user and a second that
would exploit gas through power co-generation on a smaller scale but with more
immediate prospect of commercialization, are now being actively pursued.
    Austral Pacific holds a 35% interest in the permit which is operated by
Rift Oil.

    Ratanui-1 -- PEP 38741 -- New Zealand
    The Ratanui-1 exploration well is expected spud on or about 1st February
2007. The well, located east of Inglewood in onshore Taranaki, is targeting
the Urenui and Mt Messenger sands of Miocene age such as those encountered at
Cheal. Drilling to a total depth of 2120 meters (6955 feet) is expected to
take approximately two weeks. The estimated well cost on a dry hole basis is
US$1.54 million.
    Austral Pacific holds a 55% interest in the permit and is the operator.

    The Company's Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rick Webber, has initiated an
investor outreach program commencing in New Zealand. A copy of his
presentation is available on the Company's website.
    The Company's Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Bruce McGregor, has advised
the Company his intention to resign for personal reasons and will leave the
Company on 23rd February 2007. A search for a replacement for Mr. McGregor
along with recruitment of several other technical and administrative positions
is currently underway.

    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.

    Web site:
    Phone:        Rick Webber, CEO +64 (4) 495 0880


For further information:

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

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