Cardiff Well Testing - Operations Update

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand, March 10 /CNW/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd.
(TSX-V: APX; NZSX: APX; Amex:   AEN)
    Following on from the successful rig workover to isolate the K3E
formation, testing operations commenced on Cardiff 2A ST-1 two weeks ago. Well
testing operations comprises an initial flow period allowing the well to clean
up, followed by an extended shut-in period for a pressure build up to assess
the current reservoir conditions. The initial clean up phase has been
completed and Austral has now shut-in the well. The shut-in period is expected
to be 3-4 weeks, after which further testing operations will resume.
    The initial flow period recovered workover and completion fluids, and
some formation fluid, with small amounts of gas from the reservoir. The
reservoir pressure during the test appears to be below expectations, based on
the offset Cardiff 1 well data. This could be an indication of reservoir
damage during the long dormant period between the initial drilling and this
testing program. The remainder of the test program on the K3E reservoir,
including re-perforating the reservoir sequence and flow testing, will be
reviewed, once the results of the current shut-in period are assessed.
    The information gained from this test is an important component of the
ongoing Cardiff field appraisal and development activities.
    Austral Pacific's CEO, Thom Jewell, said, "Expectations were not high of
flowing sustainable gas/condensates from this part of the test program. The
perforated interval is assumed to have been badly damaged during the original
testing and the well has been left shut-in for the last 18 months,
exacerbating the damage and making contact with the reservoir unlikely.
However, samples and the pressure data are vital for us to fully assess the
potential of this resource that lies in 4 distinct fault compartments and may
total between 200-500 bcf. The shut-in period will provide further pressure
data and the follow-up operations will depend on the interpretation of this
and all available information."
    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:     Thom Jewell, CEO +64 (4) 495 0880
                or Brad Holmes: +1 (713) 304 6962

For further information:

For further information: Thom Jewell, CEO, +64 (4) 495 0880, or Brad 
Holmes, +1-713-304-6962, both of Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., Web Site:

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