The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) is aware of the recent announcement by Exxon-Mobil to acquire InterOil Limited.
Commissioner for the ICCC, Paulus Ain, stated that the proposed acquisition may raise competition issues under Section 69 of the ICCC Act.
A bidding war between two major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, Oil Search and Exxon Mobil, ended last week when the PNG focused Oil Search announced it would not be making a counter offer to acquire InterOil in PNG.
The announcement came after Exxon Mobil launched a $US3 billion bid for InterOil, as it seeks to take control of the country’s second LNG venture in the Gulf of Papua.
Following these announcements, economic regulator and consumer watchdog the ICCC raised concerns about a possible monopolisation of the industry.
ExxonMobil is the leading joint venture partner and the operator of the PNG LNG project. If the proposed acquisition were to proceed, it would give the company about a 36 per cent stake in the Papua LNG project and other potential LNG projects in the acreages that InterOil has licence to.
The commission is willing to discuss steps for moving forward with all parties involved so as to safeguard this potential natural gas industry from being monopolised which may in turn shut out possible competition in the future.