An informal investigation with the aim of looking into Woodside’s acquisition of Apache’s LNG assets has been launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The ACCC is seeking comments from market participants on the possible impact of Woodside’s acquisition on the wholesale gas prices in Western Australia, Argus reports. The comment submissions are due February 2.
Woodside agreed to buy Apache’s stake in Kitimat LNG project in Canada, as well as the Wheatstone LNG project in Western Australia which is the focus of the investigation as it could possibly create a competition issue between Woodside’s existing LNG assets in supplying gas into WA. Woodside is the operator of the North West Shelf project and is in negotiations for the gas supply to domestic consumers from its Browse project. Under the domestic gas reservation policy, WA LNG projects have to supply 15 pct of produced gas to domestic consumer rather than exporting it all.
The Chevron-operated Wheatstone LNG project is scheduled to start shipments in 2016 and could be seen as competition to NWS on the WA wholesale gas market.
The ACCC, that will reveal its findings by March 5, has the power to block the Apache stake acquisition, force changes to the deal or demand further action from Woodside to protect the WA gas market.
LNG World News Staff; Image: Chevron