The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has given unconditional clearance to the proposed merger of Royal Dutch Shell plc and BG Group plc. Three of the five pre-conditions of the merger have now been satisfied.
The ACCC action follows similar approvals from Brazil and the European Union. Clearances are still needed from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board and China's Ministry of Commerce.
The deal worth about US$69.6 billion was announced in April (see Daily GPI,April 8). Shell would see its proved reserves grow about 25% and would become the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas.
The ACCC had previously expressed concerns about the deal and said it had received a large number of comments about the combination of the companies (see Daily GPI, Sept. 18).
"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," said Shell CEO Ben van Beurden.
"The Shell BG combination is a sign of Shell's confidence in the Australian economy. It's also a springboard to change Shell into a simpler, more profitable and resilient company in a world where oil prices could remain low for some time." The deal remains on track for completion early next year, Shell said.
Shell is revamping its upstream operations effective Jan. 1 by splitting the conventional and unconventional natural gas and oil resources units and creating a standalone business to trade and market natural gas worldwide (see Daily GPI, Nov. 3).