Australia stalling with Shell-BG merger decision

Shell’s $70 billion acquisition of the British gas giant BG Group, will have to wait some more, as the Australian Competition & Consumer Comission, tasked to review the potential competition concerns, has delayed its final decision once again. The decision was first delayed in September.

According to information found on the competition watchdog’s website, the former proposed decision date of November 12, has now been delayed by ACCC to allow additional time to consider the proposed acquisition.

Both Shell, and BG own oil and gas operations in Australia. Shell has a 50% interest in the Arrow Energy Pty Ltd joint venture (PetroChina has the other 50%), while BG wholly owns QGC Pty Limited.

In its preliminary findings repored in September the ACCC said there were concerns that the effect of the proposed acquisition in aligning Shell’s interests with BG’s interest in the QCLNG project may decrease the incentive for Arrow to supply gas to the domestic market.

“By removing some (or all) of Arrow’s gas from the domestic market, the proposed acquisition could substantially lessen competition to supply gas users in either the Queensland or eastern Australian gas market,” the ACCC said in September.

There is also a concern that Arrow would redirect its gas supplies to the QCLNG project which would then export the gas as LNG to the overseas buyers, reducing the amount of gas available to domestic users.

To remind, Shell cleared its first antitrust hurdle in June by receiving early termination of the US antitrust waiting period from the United States Federal Trade Commission. Furthermore, Shell received merger clearance from the Brazilian competition authority (CADE) in July and the European Commission gave its clearance in September.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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