ACCC chairman Rod Sims. Image courtesy of the ACCC.

Australia’s competition regulator has pushed back its final decision on the pending $70 billion merger between Royal Dutch Shell and the BG Group by one week.

According to Reuters, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) now expects to make a final decision on the deal by November 19.

The move follows a previous deferral in September after the ACCC said other market participants had expressed concern that the merger could harm gas supply competition in eastern Australia.

“The ACCC is concerned that, by aligning Shell’s interest in Arrow Energy with BG’s LNG facilities in Queensland, the proposed acquisition may change Shell’s incentives such that it will prioritize supply to BG’s LNG facilities over competing gas users,” the ACCC said in September.

Shell still expects the deal to be completed in early 2016.

“We see this as an indication of the thorough process being undertaken by the ACCC,” Shell told Reuters.

The merger must also still win approval from Chinese authorities.

Shell agreed in April to acquire UK-based BG Group for about $70 billion in cash and shares.

BG shareholders will receive 383 pence in cash and 0.4454 Shell B shares per BG share, a 52 percent premium over the company’s closing price on April 7.

Shell will also provide a mix and match facility that will allow BG shareholders to vary the portions of new shares to cash they receive.

The deal has already won approval from the European Union’s antitrust regulator, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Brazilian regulators.

The merger is expected to grow Shell’s proved oil and gas reserves by 25 percent and increase its production by 20 percent while saving the company $2.5 billion per year.


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