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ACCC Clears Shell, PetroChina Offer for Arrow Energy

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By James Paton

April 14 (Bloomberg) — The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cleared Royal Dutch Shell Plc and PetroChina Co.’s A$3.5 billion ($3.3 billion) bid to acquire Arrow Energy Ltd. after a monthlong review of the proposed transaction.

“Taking into account the significant competing gas suppliers and abundant gas reserves that would remain post- acquisition, the ACCC considered that the proposed acquisition was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market,” the Australian regulator said on its Web site.

Shell and PetroChina are still seeking approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board after agreeing last month to buy Arrow’s Australian business for A$4.70 a share in cash. Arrow investors also will receive shares in a new company, Dart Energy Ltd., which will hold the explorer’s gas assets overseas and Arrow’s stakes in Australian-listed companies.

Phil Connole, a Shell spokesman in Melbourne, wouldn’t say how long the review board process could take and declined to comment on the ACCC’s decision.

Shell and PetroChina initially made a A$4.45 a-share offer, Brisbane-based Arrow said on March 8. The Australian energy company announced an agreement on March 22 after the two companies raised their bid.

Shell and PetroChina join BG Group Plc and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. in acquiring coal-seam gas assets in Queensland to supply planned liquefied natural gas ventures.

–Editors: Alex Devine, Jane Lee.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at [email protected].

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