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Austral Updates Flow-Testing and Drilling Operations.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Austral Pacific Energy Ltd. (TSXV and NZSX: APX; AMEX: AEN) -- Flow-testing of the 5m thick N-0 sand in Supplejack South-1A (Austral 36.67%) has produced only formation water and drill mud; and testing of that zone has now been terminated. The shallower 1.5m sandstone is better quality and is expected to flow gas on test. However, Austral has decided not to participate in the flow testing of this sandstone as it perceives it has limited reserve potential. Testing of this zone will now be conducted to the 100% cost of joint venture party TAG Oil.

Test equipment is now being mobilized to the Cardiff-2 site. Flow-testing of the McKee Sands in Cardiff-2A (Austral 25.1%) is scheduled to commence on January 16. The planned flow-test program is scheduled to continue for 30 days.

Heaphy-1 well (Austral 66.67%) is scheduled to commence in early February.

The Coral Sea drill rig is presently in transit to Papua New Guinea, and scheduled to arrive in Port Moresby in mid January. This rig is scheduled to commence drilling the Douglas-1 well (Austral 35%, operator) in late February/early March
 CONTACT: Investor Relations: tel: +1 561 837 8057 ext 2

 Web site: http://www.austral-pacific.com/

 Email: ir@austral-pacific.com




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 or business conditions.

See our public filings at http://www.sedar.com/ and http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm for further information.

CONTACT: Investor Relations of Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., +1-561-837-8057, ext. 2

Web site: http://www.austral-pacific.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 11, 2006
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