Santos has given up its lease to explore for oil in the Great Australian Bight.

The company, along with Murphy Oil Corporation, has announced it is relinquishing the permit to explore the site that it secured in 2013. 

It has become the fourth big firm to abandon drilling intentions in the Great Australian Bight, saying it is working on a strategy “to build and grow around our five core long-life natural gas assets and the Great Australian Bight falls outside these assets”. 

Santos’s core assets “includes our sanctioned Barossa gas project offshore the Northern Territory which will backfill our Darwin LNG project,” a spokesperson said. 

“Our Moomba carbon capture and storage project in the Cooper Basin is planned for a final investment decision later this year.

“The Dorado oil and gas project offshore Western Australia and the Narrabri domestic gas project in New South Wales will both face investment decisions over the next couple of years.”

Greenpeace has described the decision as a “momentous win for people and the planet”.

Norwegian company Equinor dropped its plan to drill for oil in the Bight last year, saying it would not be “commercially competitive”, while BP scrapped similar plans in 2016 and Chevron followed suit in 2017. 

Bight Petroleum is now the only firm with plans to drill the Bight, though the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) rejected the company's request to extend its work program earlier this year.