Beach Petroleum Widens Potential for Offshore Gas in Otway Basin
Beach Petroleum Limited (ASX: BPT) is widening its exposure to offshore gas exploration in Australia by significantly increasing its stake, via farm-in, in acreage in far west Victoria.

The Company announced today it had entered into an agreement with Essential Petroleum Resources Limited to acquire a further 32.5% interest in Otway Basin exploration tenement VIC/ P46, which covers a large slice of offshore waters near the coast between Portland west to the border with South Australia. This acquisition will increase the Company's equity in the permit from 17.5% to 50%.

First drilling is scheduled for 2007, with Beach taking over the role as Operator from current operator, Essential Petroleum Resources Limited.

Essential will retain a 25% interest in the tenement with the remaining 25% stake held by Mitsui & Co. Ltd subsidiary, Mittwell Energy Resources Pty Ltd.

"The acquisition provides Beach with a more substantive entry into western Victoria's offshore gas potential," Beach Petroleum's Managing Director, Mr Reg Nelson, said today.

"It also brings added balance and spread of risk across our suite of production and exploration assets primarily in the onshore Cooper Eromanga Basin, the Tipton West coal seam investment in Queensland and the producing Basker Manta oil development project in the Gippsland Basin area of Bass Strait," Mr Nelson said.

"VIC/ P46 has several large mapped gas prospects. The largest prospect, Fermat, has the potential to be twice the size of the recently commercialised Casino gas field to the east and just offshore from Port Campbell," he said.

"Fermat has the capacity to hold in excess of one trillion cubic feet of gas."

"Our focus is to expedite exploration and possible development within the permit."

A commercial gas discovery, Mr Nelson said, would have a distribution outlet through a grid connection to the main SEAGAS pipeline north of Portland, or to the eastern states' network via existing connections around Warrnambool.

"Success would also bring natural gas into commercial consideration for heavy industry in the Green Triangle region, which can be stretched in sourcing sufficient and stable energy feedstock supplies."

Beach is already participating in offshore production through its 50% ownership of the Basker Manta project in the Gippsland Basin area of Bass Strait in eastern Victoria.

The second tanker load of crude oil of more than 410,000 barrels, of which Beach is entitled to half, is due to leave the Basker field next Monday (March 27), amid the current 4 well development drilling program on Basker Manta.

Beach Petroleum has also participated in drilling in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia. This area will again be targeted, along with the Canterbury Basin offshore on the eastern side of New Zealand's South Island, within the next 18 months.

Oil and gas exploration, development and production, and investment in the resource industry.

Reg Nelson
Beach Petroleum Limited
TEL: +61 8 8338 2833

Mark Lindh
Investor Relations
TEL: +61 414 551 361

Kevin Skinner
Senior Consultant
231 South Road
MILE END  SA  5031
Tel:   (08) 8234 9555
Fax:  (08) 8234 9566
Mob: 0414 822 631 


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