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Environmentalists have long contested drilling in the Bight
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Great Australian Bight closes for business

Santos joins the list of developers to withdraw from the region, deeming it too risky

The Great Australian Bight, once seen as a promising frontier deepwater exploration acreage, is effectively closed for business after the last deep-pocketed developers pulled out in July. Australian independent Santos announced in mid-July that its joint venture with US peer Murphy Oil had relinquished its 16,525km² exploration permit in the Bight. Santos owned 80pc of EPP43 and Murphy the remaining 20pc. They follow BP, Chevron and Norway’s Equinor in deeming the play too risky. The three firms abandoned their exploration plans for the Bight in 2016, 2017 and 2020 respectively. Environmental campaigners have long contested drilling in the Bight, which lies off the central and western port

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