Santos says its merger with Oil Search is now complete. 

The company says the $23 billion deal is now in effect, after securing approval from Oil Search shareholders and the National Court of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

“The merger combines two industry leaders to create a regional champion of quality, size and scale with a unique and diversified portfolio of long-life, low-cost oil and gas assets,” Santos chairman Keith Spence said.

“We look forward to integrating our businesses to create one high performing team – with a vision of becoming a global leader in the energy transition.”

Santos managing director and chief executive officer Kevin Gallagher said the merger will create a stronger company and help it meet its environmental goals. 

“Santos and Oil Search are stronger together and will have increased scale and capacity to drive a disciplined, low-cost operating model and unrivalled growth opportunities over the next decade,” Mr Gallagher said.

“The merger creates a company with strong and diversified cash flows, providing a platform to deliver shareholder returns and successfully navigate the transition to a lower carbon future.

“The merger builds on our industry-leading approach to ESG through the combination of Santos’ leading carbon capture and storage capabilities with Oil Search’s social programs in PNG and North America.”

Analysts expect asset sales will now be on the cards, including the partial sale of Oil Search’s stake in an Alaskan oil project and of the combined company’s enlarged stake in the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project.

The merged company should produce about 117 million barrels of oil a year based on 2021 output, while its resource base will amount to 4.867 billion barrels.