Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart. Pic: Getty

Gina Rinehart-backed Lakes Oil has had to reassure investors its wells are not “plugged and abandoned” after a Victorian government department incorrectly updated the status of the company’s projects on its website.

Lakes Oil (ASX:LKO) said Victoria’s department of resources changed the status of the Wombat-1, Wombat-3 and Wombat-4 wells to “other” and the Wombat-2 and Trifon-2 wells to “plugged and abandoned”.

“These changes to the status of the above wells were made by the department without any prior consultation with the company, and without its knowledge,” Lakes said.

“As far as the company is aware, there has been no new information whatsoever received by the department in relation to any of these wells which would warrant or explain the changes to their listed status.”

According to Lakes, the five gas wells are still pending further work.

Shares were up 50 per cent at 0.3c on the back of the news this morning.

Lakes Oil (ASX:LKO) shares over the past year.
Lakes Oil (ASX:LKO) shares over the past year.

Chairman Chris Tonkin told Stockhead that Lakes Oil is trying to get a meeting with the resources department to rectify the situation.

“We have sent a letter to them particularly because they had information which had been given to them a long time ago on onshore gas,” he said.

“Our letter wasn’t all that conciliatory I have to say, but it was asking what they were doing and we didn’t really get a straight answer to be honest.

“We’re going to hopefully get a meeting with them and re-present our information to them.”

The company has not been able to do anything since the Victorian government last year suspended conventional onshore gas exploration until 2020 and permanently banned unconventional exploration including hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) and coal seam gas.

It is approaching the three-month mark and Lakes Oil is still waiting to find out if it has won a Supreme Court battle to overturn the ban on gas exploration.

Lakes Oil had been undertaking gas exploration in Victoria prior to the ban, spending more than $80 million in the state.

The court battle comes in the lead up to the state election, which is penned in for November this year.

Lakes Oil is continuing to look for other opportunities while it waits for the court verdict.