Woodside Energy Group and Santos have confirmed that their discussions about a potential merger have concluded without leading to any definitive agreement.

A merger of the two Australia-based energy firms was expected to create an A$80bn ($52.3bn) oil and gas major.

Santos clarified that after an initial sharing of information, the two parties did not identify adequate synergies to justify a merger that would serve the best interests of their shareholders.

The company stated: “Santos has a clear strategy to deliver long-term shareholder value.  We have a strong balance sheet and continue to review options to unlock value for shareholders.”

Woodside Energy, on the other side, said that it is committed to evaluating various organic and inorganic growth prospects as a global energy enterprise.

According to its CEO Meg O’Neill, the company scrutinises each opportunity, conducting comprehensive due diligence while adding that Woodside Energy remains dedicated to pursuing transactions that enhance shareholder value.

O’Neill said: “We continue to be disciplined in our approach to mergers and acquisitions and capital management to create and deliver value for shareholders. While the discussions with Santos did not result in a transaction, Woodside considers that the global LNG sector provides significant potential for value creation.

“Woodside’s world-class global portfolio, growth pipeline and strong balance sheet underpin our attractive investment proposition for Australian and global investors.”

In December 2023, Woodside Energy and Santos acknowledged media rumours regarding their potential merger. Woodside Energy clarified that discussions were ongoing but confidential and inconclusive, with no assurance of a finalised transaction.

Santos stated that discussions were in early stages, while emphasising its commitment to exploring opportunities aimed at generating value for shareholders.

Woodside Energy was formed in June 2022 via the merger of Woodside and BHP Petroleum. The company has operations in Australia, Timor-Leste, Senegal, and the US.

Santos operates across Australia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and the US.