Australia's Woodside Energy and Santos said on Thursday they were in preliminary talks to create an A$80 billion ($52 billion) global oil and gas giant, as consolidation among international energy firms intensifies. Combining two of Australia's largest oil and gas producers would be the largest corporate deal in the country for several years, during which buyout activity has been subdued by rising interest rates and financial market volatility. A deal, if it goes ahead, would create the biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer in Australia, the world's No. 2 exporter of the super-chilled fuel that is expected to see decades of growth to meet Asia's energy transition needs.
The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. - Meta Platforms said it has started fully encrypting messages on Facebook by default, and will automatically start shifting Facebook users to so-called end-to-end encryption for their messages on that platform and its connected Messenger app. - BHP Group has appointed Vandita Pant as its new chief financial officer, as part of a reshuffle of its top executives from March 2024.
Brazilian authorities said on Wednesday that talks with miners Vale, BHP and their joint venture Samarco regarding additional compensation for a burst tailings dam in 2015 were halted since the firms did not present a new proposal. The dam collapse in the southeastern city of Mariana caused a giant mudslide that killed 19 people and severely polluted the Rio Doce, compromising the waterway to its outlet in the Atlantic Ocean. The companies' latest offer presented had "insufficient amounts for the proper reparation of the Rio Doce," the statement said.