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ACCC defers decision on Royal Dutch Shell’s $US70b BG Group takeover

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BG’s Queensland Curtis LNG plant would be owned by Shell if the merger is approved. Photo: Bechtel

Royal Dutch Shell Group will have to wait a bit longer for Australian regulatory clearance of its proposed $US70 billion ($99.4 billion) takeover of BG Group after the national competition authority delayed its decision on the deal.

The decision, which was due on Thursday, has been deferred for two weeks “to allow additional time to consider the proposed acquisition,” the ACCC said on its website.

The deferral, until September 17, signals that clearance of the deal, which will further concentration ownership of gas resources in Queensland, is far from straightforward. Some gas buyers on the east coast are known to have serious concerns that the combination of Shell’s and BG’s gas resources in Queensland will further limit availability of domestic gas supplies in a market where most gas is set to be shipped offshore from the new LNG projects in Gladstone, one of which is owned by BG.

The regulatory approval in Australia is one of two key approvals still outstanding for the deal, with the other being China. The Australian and Chinese approvals have long been seen by some analysts as the most problematic.

The European Commission gave unconditional clearance to the merger overnight Australian time.

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