Australia’s watchdog clears Shell-BG merger

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said on Thursday it will not oppose the proposed $70 billion acquisition of LNG player BG by Royal Dutch Shell.

“The ACCC’s view is that the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the wholesale natural gas market, in either Queensland or eastern Australia more broadly,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC considered whether the deal would reduce the supply of gas, or reduce competition to supply gas, to domestic customers by aligning Shell’s interest in Arrow Energy with BG’s LNG facilities in Queensland.

Sims added that Arrow is not focused on supplying domestic customers, and appears unlikely to be so in the future and that BG’s focus is on supplying the QCLNG facilities the acquisition would not change the competition for the supply of gas to domestic customers.

Following several delays from the ACCC, its unconditional approval is the third hurdle the proposed merger has cleared after clearances from EU, U.S. and Brazil.

The proposed acquisition, which would create one of the largest LNG players in the history, needs two more pre-conditional clearances from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board and China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Commenting on ACCC clearance Shell CEO, Ben van Beurden, said: “The addition of BG’s integrated gas assets in Australia to Shell’s global portfolio is one of the main strategic drivers behind the recommended combination, making ACCC approval a major step forward for the deal.

He added the filing process in China continues to “progress well” and the combination remains on track for completion in early 2016.

 

LNG World News Staff, Image: BG Group

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